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"...It is the mission of the Ocean Explorium to establish
New Bedford as a center for ocean science public education,
with an emphasis on environmental stewardship
and science literacy..."
The team at the Ocean Explorium seek to achieve this mission through five objectives:
1. To provide a unique and effective vehicle for educating the public about the oceans: their protection, restoration, pollution prevention and sustainable use. To act as a center for the public understanding of science. To give young people a sense of the opportunities available to them in the ocean sciences and other ocean-related industries.
2. To act as a hub for the collation and dissemination of information related to ocean sciences and environmental stewardship in New Bedford, Southeastern Massachusetts and throughout the world.
3. To provide a framework for networking and unifying marine sustainability and education efforts in the region, partnering with appropriate organizations to enhance common objectives and synergize resources.
4. To participate with partners in the downtown area in fostering a rejuvenation and revitalization of the City of New Bedford and in reuniting citizens with their cultural and geographical heritage.
5. To reconnect the people of Southeastern Massachusetts with the sea: highlighting the grace, beauty and significance of this essential resource, while emphasizing the importance of the modern seafood industry to local communities.
The key elements of the Ocean Explorium--the tools with which the objectives of the Ocean Explorium will be achieved--include interactive educational components and various other educational initiatives that extend beyond the physical limitations of the exhibit itself.
Science on a Sphere
On entering the Ocean Explorium, visitors will be captivated by a luminescent cube; a metaphorical slice of the ocean. Inside this giant cube will be a magnificent "blue marble"--our planet Earth--suspended in space. A key element of the Ocean Explorium's educational programming, this globe is part of NOAA's revolutionary new Science on a Sphere. Using high-speed computers, multiple projectors and advanced imaging techniques, it creates an image of the planet in 3-D. Upon this 3-D image of the earth a large number of scientific data sets--both historic and real-time--can be graphically displayed, clearly demonstrating important environmental issues on a global scale (e.g., climate change, ocean currents, weather patterns, dispersion of potential contaminants, etc.). Time Magazine has called Science on a Sphere "...one of the top ten inventions of 2006."
The World's Oceans
The World's Oceans exhibit will consist of a series of living aquatic habitats that highlight issues introduced by the Science on a Sphere. A living coral reef will elucidate the issue of coral bleaching and the causal agent, global warming. Other exhibits (e.g., schooling fish, cuttlefish, sea anemones, mudskippers, jellyfish, etc.) will provide similar stimulating educational opportunities.
The Touch Tank will be a representation of a living coastal ecosystem, where visitors can interact with key animals and plants of the littoral zone--e.g., horseshoe crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, scallop, flatfishes, etc. By reacquainting visitors with the seashore this element develops a sense of wonder and promotes environmental stewardship.
Most people rarely see the early stages of marine life, the babies of the ocean. The Living Laboratory will consist of a series of small living exhibits that display delicate, juvenile marine organisms--e.g., sea gooseberries, nudibranchs, shrimp, rays, sharks, cuttlefishes, seahorses, etc.
Humans and the Ocean
The Humans and the Ocean will introduce many aspects of a vibrant fishing port, highlighting the relationship between local residents and the sea. Exhibits will demonstrate that local fishermen have an intimate understanding of the sea and its inhabitants, and can both teach the community about environmental stewardship and work in a sustainable manner.
The Resource Room will provide a venue for visitors to more deeply investigate concepts that they have learned during their visit to the Ocean Explorium. It will contain print media, electronic media and high-speed computer facilities, enabling visitors to seek information to a higher level of detail than provided by the exhibits.
The Ocean Explorium Media Room will consist of a state-of-the-art audio-visual system enabling visitors to venture above, under and across the world's oceans; experiencing engaging maritime activities through both recorded programs and live feeds. The Media Room will also be used for live performances, lectures and other presentations. Through the use of emerging technologies, key themes will be synchronized with the programming of the Science on a Sphere.
MuralsPainted by local artist Arthur Moniz, two magnificent murals embrace the ends of the Ocean Explorium. These murals depict the beauty of a natural aquatic habitat and the dynamic cultural beauty of New Bedford's working waterfront.
- Jennifer Costa
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