Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center Press Release – July 10, 2023

Blue Hill Observatory & Science Center Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday, July 10, 2023, Milton MA

The Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center Inc. (The Observatory), a National Historic Landmark and a Centennial Observing Station as recognized by the World Meteorological Organization, will reopen to the public on Saturday, July 15, 2023 after a two-year closure due to an extensive renovation. The Observatory has maintained an unbroken 138-year climate record despite being closed to the public.

The Observatory, located 635 feet high atop Great Blue Hill in Milton, MA,  is visited by over 10,000 people annually for tours and/or educational programs focused on meteorology, climate, and the environment.

A series of special events will take place from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16, 2023 to celebrate The Observatory’s reopening. Events and activities include “An Evening Among the Stars”

Gala attended by local and national meteorologists including meteorologist Jim Cantore with The Weather Channel and meteorologist and weather historian Tim Kelley, “The Southern New England Weather Conference” featuring weather experts from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration including Michelle Manelli, acting National Weather Service Deputy Director, “A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with State Officials”, and “Sunday Funday” offering  family activities, food trucks, music and tours of the Observatory.

For more information, please visit this link at EventBrite.

The Observatory underwent a complete restoration in order to protect and preserve one of Massachusetts’ important historic treasures that was constructed in 1885 by MIT graduate and Harvard Professor, Abbott Lawrence Rotch, for the study of weather and the atmosphere. Some of the firsts in meteorology took place at The Observatory at the turn of the 20th century as scientists from around the world came to the site to conduct research that ultimately established the field of meteorology.

Rotch took the first weather measurements at The Observatory in 1885 and since that time a meticulous daily weather record of his exact parameters has been kept at The Observatory using traditional methods and instruments to ensure consistency. Through careful coordination with construction crews, the weather observation program continued without interruption during the renovation.

Today The Observatory is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and maintained by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The day to day operations of maintaining The Observatory’s historic climate record, along with community focused programs, are run by the 501c3 nonprofit “Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center, Inc.” under Executive Director Charles Orloff.

Allegrone Companies won the bid for the restoration project, undertaken by the DCR.  Michael Mucci, Director of Masonry for Allegrone Companies observed that the age of the building raised significant challenges.  In particular, Mucci noted, “Restoring the Observatory’s concrete tower proved to be one of the more challenging aspects of this restoration project.” He added that it was necessary to expose the structural core of the tower and then rebuild to be structurally sound and in accordance with today’s building codes.”

During the closure, The Observatory was able to achieve three significant strategic goals due to support from individuals and foundation or federal grants:

  • The development of the “Mish Michaels Hall for Scientific Discovery” named after the late Board member and Emmy Award Winning meteorologist, Mish Michaels, who was an education leader at The Observatory.
  • The scanning of The Observatory’s hard copy historic record books due to a community matched Save America’s Treasures grant provided by the National Park Service.
  • The development of new educational content in the program “Picture Post for Environmental Conservation” due to support from the Yawkey Foundation.

Executive Director Charles Orloff notes, “Now that The Observatory’s historic landmark building is in pristine condition, all of us at The Observatory will continue to work to serve the community with high-quality educational programs that have proven to be pivotal in the lives of young people interested in the weather, environment and climate. Today, our team is proud to have fostered careers in meteorology through The Observatory’s “Launch Your Career in Meteorology” Summer Workshop. Many alumni today have successful and satisfying careers in meteorology.”