Sant Ocean Hall Update - 09.30.2009

One Year Anniversary
On September 26, 2009, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of the Sant Ocean Hall with family-friendly events. The theme of the Anniversary Celebration was the myriad of changes in and around the ocean in the year since the Sant Ocean Hall opened. The goal of the event was to help the public understand the dynamic nature of the ocean, the research and exploration being conducted in the ocean and how our connections to the ocean impact it. The event also involved many of the Museum's collaborators including NOAA and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. NOAA contributed the "dynamic ocean facts" that were representative of the changes in the ocean over the past year. These facts were posted as decorative and informative signs throughout the Ocean Hall. Additionally, the new "Ocean Friend Challenge" made its debut, growing from the Sant Ocean Hall website to an onsite activity. The Challenge provides directed learning in the Hall for visitors, but also provides an instant tool for evaluation of what visitors are learning. The Museum reported over 25,000 visitors on the day of the Sant Ocean Hall One Year Anniversary Celebration.

Ocean Portal Update
The Smithsonian Ocean Portal team is hard at work getting ready for the next wave of development. More information will follow once schedules for user and collaborator testing have been approved. Also, the team had outstanding response to the Ocean Portal Educators’ Survey, thanks in large part to the assistance of the COSEE Network. Results of the survey will be distributed to the Network shortly.

NSF Funds Ocean Sciences Lecture Series
In September, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History received a National Science Foundation award to host an ocean sciences lecture series and associated programming to promote public understanding of current issues in ocean science, such as climate change and its effects on the ocean; ocean biodiversity loss; the ocean and human health; and coastal hazards. Working in partnership with the COSEE Network, the series will support ocean literacy, disseminate information on recent ocean science research and discoveries, and provide a forum for the public to discover how humans and the ocean are inextricably connected. A novel audience participation and interaction activity will begin and conclude the lectures to assess audience knowledge and awareness pre- and post-lecture. The kick-off for the lecture series will also include a joint NMNH/COSEE "Educator's Night" event for local teachers and school administrators to encourage their students and teachers to attend the lectures. During this event educators will receive educational materials from COSEE on topics related to the lecture series. The award of nearly $150,000 is supported by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

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