Pacific Science Center IMAX closes Sunday for renovations that include the latest IMAX technology

Boeing IMAXIf you’re planning to catch an IMAX movie at PacSci in early 2015, do so before the weekend ends or wait until May 2015 for the latest and greatest IMAX technology. The Boeing IMAX Theatre will close after the final showing of Interstellar this Sunday night for major renovations to the 15 year-old theatre. The newly renovated Paccar IMAX Theatre will remain open for documentaries and feature films.

The Boeing IMAX Theater has hosted over 5.3 million viewers in its lifespan, and in four months it’ll thrill new and repeat guests again. The renovations planned will make PacSci the first science center in the country to showcase IMAX’s next-generation digital laser projection technology.

According to PacSci, the upgrades include “a new, custom-designed, laser-powered, digital projector enabling us to show movies with enhanced picture quality. This will be the world’s most advanced digital projection system designed specifically for giant IMAX screens. Plus, the renovated theater will boast a new screen, new seats, and a powerful new immersive sound system, with speakers surrounding you (even above you).”

The fancy new state-of-the-art theatre is expected to reopen in May 2015, just in time for summer blockbusters and more. If you want to catch a flick this weekend, you can purchase tickets online.

Key Arena sign and Pacific Science Center arches will go dark for Earth Hour tonight

Earth Hour is today, Saturday, March 23rd, and the city will be observing the hour between 8:30pm and 9:30pm tonight. The city will turn off the lights at several facilities across the city, including City Hall, and the Seattle Center will observe the hour as well: the large neon sign atop KeyArena and the Pacific Science Center arches will go dark for the hour.

According to Mayor Mike McGinn: “Earth Hour is a good reminder about the little things that everyone can do to help fight climate change.”

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2006. What happens during Earth Hour? People across the globe turn off non-essential lights for an hour to  raise awareness about climate change. The annual event has grown to hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries who turn off their lights for an hour.

In other parts of the city, Seattle City Light will turn off the historic City Light sign at the South Service Center, and the Office of Arts & Culture is partnering with the Seattle Art Museum to turn off Hammering Man.

You can participate in Earth Hour too, just turn off non-essential lights between 8:30pm and 9:30pm tonight.

Pacific Science Center Wins 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The Pacific Science Center is a local treasure, and now it’s been recognized nationally – the Institute of Museum and Library Services has named the Pacific Science Center as a recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

According to the Institute, the National Medal is “the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community and celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.”

Medal winners are selected from nationwide nominees that demonstrate “innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach”. The winners this year include a range of libraries, two museums, a park conservancy, and our own Pacific Science Center. The National Medal will be presented in Washington, D.C. next Wednesday, November 14.

According to Susan Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services:

“This year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients demonstrate the many ways libraries and museums build strong communities and provide opportunities for individual success.”

Congratulations to the Pacific Science Center!

Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG challenge underway

Today is your chance to donate to Queen Anne charities and have your money go further.

The Seattle Foundation is hosting the “GiveBIG” challenge from 7 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. to support a long list of charities around town, a great many of which are based right here in Queen Anne, including the American Cancer Society – Great West Division, ArtsFund, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Forgotten Children’s Fund, Friends of KEXP, GreenStage, Hilltop Children’s Center, KCTS Television, Northwest Folklife, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pacific Science Center, Pottery Northwest, Queen Anne Helpline, Seattle Center Foundation, Seattle Children’s Home, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, SIFF, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Puget Sound Affiliate, Whim W’Him and more.

The money donated to charities through GiveBIG will be “stretched” by $500,000. Here is how the “stretch pool” and match works:

Credit card donations made during this time period will be counted as GiveBIG donations and used to calculate distribution of the stretch pool. The amount of a nonprofit organization’s share of the stretch pool will be based on the percentage of donations the nonprofit receives of the total online contributions made through on June 23. In other words, distribution of the stretch pool will be pro-rated. If X organization receives 1% of the donations through our site on GiveBIG, they will receive 1% of the stretch pool dollars.

Here is the long list of charities that are participating. There will also be a Golden Ticket given away every hour. Donors will be chosen at random to have more money donated to the charity they chose to support. Most tickets are worth $1,000 but the one-time extra special Golden Ticket is worth $5,000.

Upcoming neighborhood forums on transportation

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien is hosting two upcoming community forums on transportation. These neighborhood discussions are being co-hosted by the Pacific Science Center, Seattle City Council and Streets For All Seattle.

These discussions are part of a series of events that gather community input on different aspects of the City Council’s priority issue of carbon neutrality.

Interesting in taking part? Check out details on both events here:

  • Tuesday, March 29, 6 to 8:30 p.m. – Lake City, Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517  35th Avenue NE, Seattle

Featured Speakers:
Ref Lindmark, King County Metro Transit
Kari Watkins, OneBusAway & UW Civil Engineering
Notable community representative

  • Tuesday, April 12, 6 to 8:30 p.m. – Central District, Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 S. Jackson St., Seattle

Featured Speakers:
Mark Hallenbeck, Director of the Washington State
Transportation Center at UW (TRAC)
Jennifer Wieland, Seattle Dept. of Transportation
Transit blogger Carla Saulter, a.k.a. “Bus Chick”

The forum will provide a light dinner and refreshments for attendees. There will also be educational activities provided by the Science Center’s Science on Wheels program for children 5 years old and up whose  parents and guardians are attending the forum.

Although the event is free, space is limited. Those who plan to attend are asked to reserve their place by calling (206) 443-2896 or visiting

Pacific Science Center wins international award

Last week the Pacific Science Center won the Association of Science and Technology Centers’ (ASTC) Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience in a large institution (.pdf). The Center won the award, known as an “Edgie,” for the National Science Foundation funded Portal to the Public project, which fosters interactions between scientists, guests, and educators.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Abernathy via Flickr).

“This award recognizes the importance and value of providing an experience for our guests where they get to have face-to-face conversations with scientists regarding current research in science and technology,” said Pacific Science Center’s senior vice president for Strategic Programs Dennis Schatz in a statement. “It is also testimony to the great partnership we developed with science centers across the country that made Portal to the Public a success and deserving of winning an Edgie.”

The non-profit Pacific Science Center created the Portal to the Public Initiative in 2007, earning a three-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to initiate the first Portal to the Public project.

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