The University of Chicago and the Yerkes Future Foundation have released the following joint statement: The University of Chicago and the Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) are pleased to announce an agreement in principle for transfer of ownership of Yerkes Observatory and related property located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin to the Yerkes Future Foundation. A … A slightly longer than normal (24 minute) Sky at Night, broadcast in March 1988, about the Yerkes Observatory. Yerkes Observatory, which has operated in Williams Bay, Wis., near the Illinois border for 121 years and once was considered the birthplace of modern astrophysics, will be closing Oct. 1. The University will continue to occasionally operate the telescopes at Yerkes to ensure the Observatory can continue to be used for  research and education, and the large collection of glass photographic plates will continue to be available to researchers by appointment via the department Astronomy and Astrophysics. On March 7, 2018, the University of Chicago announced that it will end its activities at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis., by Oct. 1, 2018. Low-density residential use is being explored as part of a long-term plan for some of the land. The University continues to evaluate and pursue options for the long-term operation of the Yerkes campus. 5640 S. Ellis Avenue As part of the process to engage the community about the future of the Yerkes property, the University of Chicago will hold a public meeting at Williams Bay High School on Friday, May 18, 2018. The University will continue to operate the telescopes at Yerkes after the closure to ensure the Observatory can continue to be used for astronomical research and investigation, and the large collection of glass photographic plates will continue to be available to researchers by appointment. A small cloud may have drifted over the future of the historic Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay. Yerkes Observatory is the observing facility of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Chicago and is devoted to research in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as graduate education. Frequently Asked Questions Yerkes Observatory, astronomical observatory located at Williams Bay on Lake Geneva in southeastern Wisconsin, U.S. YFF will receive a share from the proceeds of the sale of the rezoned lakefront lots per the Yerkes Observatory donation agreement. As we have indicated in public forums, the University understands that comprehensive plans for Yerkes may require approval by the Village of Williams Bay’s Board of Trustees. The University of Chicago this week will transfer ownership of Yerkes Observatory and related property located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin to the Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF). The University's most recent prior update about Yerkes, posted on their Yerkes Updates page on August 15, concerned educational programming at the observatory. Please check this site frequently for updates and information. Educational outreach programs previously offered through the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory will move from the observatory after September 30, 2018 to a new location in Williams Bay, WI. It is no longer in operation. May 1st, 2020 - The Yerkes Future Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the past two years. It reflects the commitment of both groups to be responsive to the interests of the Village of Williams Bay community, and the importance of providing a sound foundation for YFF as it prepares to lead Yerkes into the future. It was a long busy afternoon but very productive. Throughout this process the University has sought to balance a number of priorities, including the need for a sustainable operational model, the community’s interest in continued public programming, and sustainable financial terms. YFF’s objectives include restoration and refurbishing of the telescopes and building, reopening the space for visitors and establishing educational, research, seminars and various additional opportunities for students, astronomers, astrophysicists and others. We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. Please use the field below to share your feedback with the University. After that time, they will be operated by Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM, Inc. and will no longer be supported by the University of Chicago. As part of this effort, the University will continue ongoing talks about the observatory’s future with interested parties, including representatives of Charles T. Yerkes’ descendants, the Village of Williams Bay, and the Yerkes Future Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Williams Bay. Along with other visitors from around the world, YFF will welcome UChicago scientists, librarians, and students to continue projects and collaboration at Yerkes in the months and years ahead. Thanks to the University of Chicago and its many Yerkes employees and scientists through the years, Yerkes has been well-maintained, and our goals include enhancing the magnificence of its structure, telescopes and grounds to continue its historic tourism appeal, and to maximize its educational and scientific potential as a forward-looking inspiration to generations of young scientific hopefuls.”. The University will share any plan for the future of the observatory with the Village of Williams Bay’s Board of Trustees. It contains the largest refracting telescope (40 inches [1 metre]) in the world. No buyer came forward, so they shut the doors to the public on October 1, 2018. Inquiries concerning these programs should be directed to GLAS Education (email: info@glaseducation.org, website: https://www.glaseducation.org). YFF and the University have agreed to several long-term loans of the University’s astronomical equipment that YFF may use at Yerkes, including the observatory’s large collection of glass plates and several historically significant artifacts. Wisconsin forums . She uses equipment from the Active Astronomy Kit from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) project. This is to be followed by an additional cash donation by the University, drawing on proceeds from the planned sale of three rezoned parcels of University-owned lakefront property, for which the University’s applications are currently pending with the Village. More than 300 people came to the public meeting in Williams Bay, with questions and comments from about 30 individuals and 42 written comment cards. After that time, they will be operated by Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM, Inc. and will no longer be supported by the University of Chicago. It was created in 1897 by George Ellery Hale and financed by Charles T. Yerkes. The Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago was named for its benefactor, transportation magnate Charles T. Yerkes, and was opened in 1897. We recognize that Yerkes means a great deal for many people, and this meeting reflected that.” All tours and public events at the observatory have ceased. Yerkes Observatory, shown above in this aerial image high above Williams Bay, has been closed to the public for one year, after more than a century of scientific research and education. You two are the best! David Fithian, who has led the transfer process for the University of Chicago, said having a successor organization that is dedicated to Yerkes and the community provides an appropriate new chapter for the observatory. The three new residential lots will provide an expanded tax base for the Village of Williams Bay. “We are grateful to the people of Williams Bay for welcoming us to their community for this meeting,” Douglas said. Jan 4, 2021 - The Yerkes Observatory is currently closed to the public and is expected to reopen in late 2019 or early 2020. “We are delighted that this process is concluding in a way that brings long-term benefits to the Williams Bay community and future visitors to Yerkes, while serving the future of astronomy and astrophysics research and education at the University of Chicago,” said Fithian. We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. The University of Chicago ended public access in October 2018. In making its rezoning proposal, the University listened closely to longstanding community concerns about high-density residential development. Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted. We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. We are also currently seeking candidates for the Yerkes Observatory Executive Director position. In April 2018 the University of Chicago, owners of the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, announced that they had no practical use for such an observatory. The Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay opened in 1897. Yerkes Proposal Process - PDF. 6,964 were here. The university is donating the observatory, several telescopes used to study outer space and 49 acres of surrounding grounds in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, near … Buy yerkes observatory canvas prints designed by millions of independent artists from all over the world. The Yerkes Future Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the past two years. Reply to: Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay update. University of Chicago Seeks Expressions of Interest in Yerkes Observatory  YFF is dedicated to restoring the great, historic observatory as a monument to American achievements in astronomy and as an operating scientific and educational institution capable of carrying Yerkes’ contributions into the future. Douglas said the views expressed at the meeting will be an important consideration as the University continues to evaluates proposals. For more than 120 years astronomers and astrophysicists from around the world did just that on the shores of Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, Wisconsin at the Yerkes Observatory… Public meeting on May 18, 2018 “We remain hopeful that a new long-term steward can continue to support the observatory and its legacy, in keeping with the community’s high regard for that history and the potential for education,” said Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs at UChicago. According to RENEW Wisconsin’s grant announcement, the 75 panels awarded to Yerkes Observatory are expected to generate 60 kilowatts of electricity. UChicago holds public meeting on future of Yerkes Observatory property Educational Outreach Programs Some of the educational programs previously offered at the observatory have moved to UChicago's campus in Chicago and a new local organization, Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM,  has plans to operate some programs at a new location in Williams Bay, not affiliated with UChicago. Sam Dunaiski, the group’s Solar for Good program manager, said a 60-kilowatt array is enough to power the electricity use of … As part of the transfer, scheduled for May 1, the University is donating to YFF the historic observatory campus, which includes the observatory building including the large telescopes, and other property on the site. Additional information will be made available as appropriate. Talks are continuing with the Yerkes Future Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Williams Bay. Students and faculty in the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics have continued to do educational and research work at Yerkes Observatory in the past year. “We heard loud and clear that people do not want the University to approach this as an ordinary real estate transaction, and we agree,” Douglas said. 773.702.7950. Some of the educational programs previously offered at the observatory will move to UChicago’s campus in Chicago, and the University understands that a new local organization has plans to operate some programs at a new location in Williams Bay, not affiliated with UChicago. On November 30, 1901, astronomer and telescope maker, George Willis Ritchey, observes the heavens through the double slide-plate holder attached to the Yerkes 40-inch Refractor Telescope. We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. Announcement: The Yerkes Future Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the past two years. Our yerkes observatory canvas art is stretched on 1.5 inch thick stretcher bars and may be customized with your choice of black, white, or mirrored sides. Stars at Yerkes teacher Kathleen Roper of Hoyleton Grade School practices a classroom exercise that demonstrates the properties of the light spectrum. Please check this site frequently for updates and information. Ask a question Recent Conversations. In addition to YFF’s global outreach, YFF will also welcome members of the UChicago community to continue their distinct connection with Yerkes. Please check this site frequently for updates and information. Apart from the main observatory building and the refracting telescope itself, the land and other structures of the Yerkes campus are the property of the University by virtue of other gifts or direct investments of University resources, and are not subject to the terms of the gift from Charles T. Yerkes. Chicago, IL 60637 Yerkes Observatory (Google Maps). In recent months the University has met and spoken with descendants of Charles T. Yerkes and provided them with the original gift document [available here – see text version here], which involves only the main observatory building and refracting telescope. University of Chicago to transfer of ownership of Yerkes Observatory to Yerkes Future Foundation. We will continue to work with interested parties to facilitate the attainment of these goals. A small group of Geneva Lake residents formed the Yerkes Future Foundation in 2018, shortly after the University’s announcement that it would seek a new long-term steward for the observatory. 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