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South Carolina State Museum Opens One-of-a-Kind Facility with a Planetarium, Observatory and 4D Theater in Columbia, S.C.

Grand opening of new attraction to be held on Saturday, Aug. 16

July 22, 2014 --

COLUMBIA, S.C., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The South Carolina State Museum is about to be brighter than ever as it opens a one-of-a-kind facility on Saturday, Aug. 16 in the state's capital offering the only observatory of its kind in the nation, one of the largest planetariums in the Southeast and the only permanent 4D theater in the state. For the first time in the nation, all three of these innovative elements, plus a multi-disciplinary museum focusing on art, history, natural history and science/technology, will be housed under one roof.

Opening on Saturday, Aug. 16, the South Carolina State Museums newly renovated facility features a planetarium, observatory and 4D Theater. For the first time in the nation, all three of these innovative elements, plus a multidisciplinary museum focusing on art, history, natural history and science/technology, will be housed under one roof.  The museum is housed in an 1894 textile mill building, which was the first electrical powered mill in the nation.  Visit to learn more. Photo credit: S.C. State Museum.

The 75,000 square foot renovation and expansion project, known as Windows to New Worlds, will position the State Museum on the cutting edge of education, particularly in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and will create a large boost in the local and statewide economy. The project will have a $19 million economic impact on the state.

"What we have built represents a quantum leap forward for South Carolina in the areas of cultural tourism, recreation and, especially, education," said Willie Calloway, executive director, South Carolina State Museum. "Our new facility is building opportunity for students to thrive, opportunity for our economy to grow and opportunity for our guests to be entertained in new ways."

The new State Museum includes:

  • Observatory For the first time in the nation, remote access of a vintage telescope will be provided free-of-charge to every classroom across an entire state. The observatory houses a fully digitized 1926 Alvan Clark 12 3/8-inch refracting telescope and fully equipped classroom.
  • Telescope Gallery This incredibly rare collection has been praised by the Antique Telescope Society as the best public collection of early American Telescopes in world. The collection includes the oldest surviving American-made observatory instrument, which is a 5.6-inch Henry Fitz made in 1849 for Erskine College in Due West, S.C.
  • Planetarium One of the largest planetariums in the Southeast, this massive 55-foot dome planetarium and theater will take guests on journeys to the deepest reaches of space through educational and entertaining astronomy shows, non-space films dealing with art, history and laser light shows.
  • 4D Theater The only permanent theater of its kind in South Carolina, the 4D theater couples high definition 3D digital projection films with physical features to provide multi-sensory, interactive experiences for guests.

A special grand opening celebration will take place from 9 a.m. 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16. Click here to access the grand opening press room.

About the South Carolina State Museum: On Oct. 29, 1988, the South Carolina State Museum and has four large floors devoted to the disciplines of art, history, natural history and science/technology. It houses both long-term exhibits and changing exhibits. For more information, visit

Contact: Anna Kate Twitty, (803) 898-4948 (o), (803) 348-6010 (c),

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SOURCE South Carolina State Museum Foundation

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