NOAA's Science On a Sphere® Increases Museum Admissions

The International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) in McAllen, Texas, enthusiastically communicated to ESRL their appreciation of the SOS exhibit installed in their museum last August. Serena Rosenkrantz, Executive Director of IMAS, recently wrote, "NOAA's Science On a Sphere® (SOS) Exhibit has brought a wealth of educational and programming opportunities to the International Museum of Art & Science. On our school tours, as we bring students into the theater where SOS is displayed, their gasps of wonder and awe are astounding. We have never had children and educators react so positively to an exhibit, particularly a science exhibit."

The museum has helped increase popularity of the SOS exhibit by adding Spanish-language presentations, and they look forward to designing special topic presentations such as natural disasters and moons of our universe. They are pleased with all the current SOS programs and look forward to acquiring a kiosk, where visitors will have the opportunity to select programs they wish to see.

According to the museum, the school tours and admissions appear to be increasing as a result of SOS. Ms. Rosenkrantz stated, "Back in October, our school tour reservations were booked through December and we are continuing to receive calls on a regular basis. Our Congressman, Ruben Hinojosa, visited us last month to view the exhibit and was very pleased, sharing that the exhibit is akin to the quality of anything one would see at the Smithsonian. We were delighted."

Science On a Sphere® is a unique visualization technology that was invented by Dr. Sandy MacDonald, Director of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, CO. In August of 2005 NOAA received a patent for Science On a Sphere®. Using computers coupled with video projectors, the system presents NOAA's global science in an engaging three-dimensional representation of the Earth's features as if they were viewed from space.

Science On a Sphere® maps directly to NOAA's mission goal to "Serve Society's Needs for Weather and Water Information" and its performance objective of enhancing environmental literacy and improving understanding, value, and use of weather and water information and services. This innovative technology is intended to educate multigenerational and now international audiences about ongoing NOAA research being conducted at many laboratories and to inspire students so that they might investigate scientific career paths. Over a half dozen other international installations are planned for Europe, Asia, and possibly Australia. It is estimated that over 15 million people will be seeing SOS in 2009.

Contact information
Name: William Bendel
Tel: 303-497-6708
William.B.Bendel@noaa.gov