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August 22 - Sep 4, 2008
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Grand New Exhibit at the National Museum - Washington
By Wayne A. Young
On September 27, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History opens its new Sant Ocean Hall, the largest exhibition in the museum's 100-year history. The 23,000-square-foot hall, located in the center of the museum, explores the vast, diverse and constantly changing ocean-from its sunlit surface to its darkest depths, from prehistory to today, and from the smallest microorganisms to the biggest animals ever known.  The Sant Ocean Hall will feature hundreds of unique things, including a set of 7-foot-tall prehistoric shark jaws and a model of a 45-foot-long North Atlantic right whale named "Phoenix," suspended from the hall's more than 4-story-high ceiling. The hall also is one of only two places in the country to display a complete giant squid.

 "Ocean Odyssey," a videotape of high-definition underwater footage by Feodor Pitcairn, will be shown on the walls of the exhibition's central space.  Science on a Sphere (a room-sized, 360-degree global display system) uses computers and projectors to display information on a 6-foot-wide sphere.  Animated images and narration explain many of the complex aspects of the ocean, such as what the ocean produces, how it changes and how it interacts and influences the atmosphere. 

The exhibition hall is named for its largest donor, the Roger and Victoria Sant Founders' Fund.  It has been developed in partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is located at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. in Washington, D.C.  Admission is free.
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