Saint Paul's Science Museum of Minnesota

Downtown St. Paul is home to the Science Museum of Minnesota, a large regional science museum.  Founded in 1907, the Science Museum's programs combine exhibits, research and collection facilities, a public science education center, extensive teacher education and school outreach programs, and an Imax Convertible Dome Omnitheater.  More than a million people enter its doors each year. 

The Science Museum’s 370,000-square-foot facility is built into the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.  There are five permananet exhibit halls which cover paleontology, physical sciences and technology, the human body, peoples and cultures, and the Mississippi River.  The river itself flows just past the museum's ten acres of outdoor exhibits and programming space.

There is also a 10,000-square-foot temporary exhibit gallery.  This area has hosted exhibits making national or worldwide tours.  Artifacts from the famous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and its devastating effects on the ancient city of Pompeii were recently displayed here.  The controversial Bodies: The Exhibition also made its way to this gallery.

Beginning Thursday on June 12th, a brand new exhibit to the Twin Cities area will open in this temporary gallery.  The Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination features more than 80 costumes, models and props from all six Star Wars films.  Visitors are invited to defy gravity, manipulate robots, engineer droids, and “journey into that galaxy far, far away that has captivated audiences for more than 30 years.”

The museum has a dual-screen IMAX/Omnimax theater and a rotatable dome for viewing Omnifilms. It’s the first such convertible theater in the Northern Hemisphere. The domed screen can be rotated around the theater to reveal the IMAX screen. The counterweights for the system were so huge that they had to be put in place before the rest of the building could be constructed. The theater also boasts "the largest permanently installed electronic cinema projector in the world," an advanced computer system to coordinate the theater's facilities, and a complex sound system to accommodate both viewing formats, according to the website.  The museum has been a leading producer of Omnifilms, with ten to its credit so far.  They're listed in this Wikipedia article

To support its reputation as a leader in the field in developing and producing interactive science exhibits, the Science Museum maintains a professional in-house exhibits staff of over 70 full-time members. The Exhibits Division includes talented and experienced exhibit developers, designers, prototypers and fabricators who create exhibits for display in the museum's galleries, and who provide their experience, skills and knowledge to our clients worldwide.

The Science Museum of Minnesota is truly a first-class facility for science education.  And it’s right here in our backyard!

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