Press Releases

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover

Mars Perseverance Rover
Credit: NASA

February 18, 2021

For Immediate Release

Birmingham, AL—Mars Perseverance Landing: Watch history unfold right before your eyes in McWane Science Center’s IMAX Dome Theater! On February 18th, 2021, NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is making its final descent to Mars, and McWane Science Center is excited to put you in the center of all the action! This is NASA’s fifth Rover to send to the Red Planet and the main question Perseverance is trying to answer during this mission is: “Was there ever ancient life on Mars?” To answer that question, the rover will collect and store the most compelling rock and soil samples for return to Earth by a future mission. And to add to the excitement, Perseverance is carrying a technology experiment, the ingenuity Mars Helicopter, that will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet! We are thrilled to welcome visitors to experience in high definition what it’s like to land on Mars in our newly renovated IMAX Dome theater.

Join us at McWane Science Center on Thursday, February 18th, 2021 for this history-making event! Touchdown for Perseverance on the Red Planet is scheduled for approximately 2:30 pm CT. Our IMAX theater will open at 2:00 pm CT for seating and commentary. Admission to this event is available at no charge to members, and non-member visitors are able to participate with paid admission to the museum. Space is limited, however, due to COVID-19 space restrictions and social distancing. Therefore, pre-registration for the event is advised.

Reserve your spot for live Rover landing: https://www.mcwane.org/rover/

Program trailer:  Perseverance Arrives at Mars: Feb. 18, 2021 (Mission Trailer) – NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

About McWane Science Center 

McWane Science Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) science center, children’s museum, natural history museum, aquarium, and IMAX® Dome Theater featuring IMAX® with Laser projection technology. Designed to “spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science,” McWane Science Center was named “Alabama Tourism Attraction of the Year” for 2020 and has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The McWane Collection houses the largest collection of fossils in Alabama. Visit mcwane.org for more information.

For additional information please contact: 

Julia-Rae Hanson
(205) 714-8303
jrhanson@mcwane.org 

IMAX® Logo
IMAX® CORPORATION

McWane to Transform Dome Theater with IMAX’s Next-Generation Dome Laser Technology; IMAX® Theatre to Re-Launch December 18 with Holiday Favorites and spectacular documentaries.  

 Birmingham (12-14-2020)– McWane Science Center announced today that its John W. Woods IMAX Dome Theater is installing IMAX’s next-generation IMAX® with Laser technology designed for 180-degree domed theater environments. The groundbreaking new laser technology replaces the former IMAX film projection system and further enhances the IMAX Experience® for visitors. The theater has been temporarily closed as the interior undergoes a complete renovation including new seating and carpeting. IMAX with Laser is expected to premiere at McWane on December 18 with both documentaries and feature-length Hollywood blockbusters.

Opening weekend showcases holiday classics The Grinch and The Polar Express as well as stunning documentaries Antarctica and Into America’s Wild.

“IMAX is excited to have The McWane Science Center join the growing number of institutions and theaters installing IMAX with Laser technology. This exciting upgrade will provide the clearest, most lifelike images available on screen today as well as next-generation precision audio to the many individuals and families who come from far and wide to enjoy their unique IMAX Dome Theater. We’re thrilled to continue our longstanding partnership and look forward to working together to bring audiences even more theatrical and educational programming options that IMAX with Laser makes possible,” said Therese Andrade, IMAX Senior Vice President, Theater Development, the Americas.

“We are proud to be the first IMAX Dome theater in the Southeast to premiere this remarkable technology. We have partnered with IMAX for many years, and McWane’s conversion to IMAX with Laser marks a new era of science, learning, and entertainment for our region. The IMAX dome is popular with kids and adults alike, and we’ve been fielding ticket inquiries for months,” said McWane Science Center President and Chief Executive Officer Amy Templeton.

IMAX with Laser represents a quantum leap forward in cinema technology – providing audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest, and most vivid digital images ever combined with a whole new level of immersive audio.Read More »McWane Science Center to Bring IMAX® with Laser to Birmingham in the John W. Woods IMAX® Dome Theatre

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 19, 2020

 

Annual holiday tradition appeals to kids of all ages

 

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA – All aboard! It’s time to punch your ticket for a Birmingham holiday tradition, The Magic of Model Trains, at McWane Science Center.

McWane’s annual excursion rolls from November 21, 2020 to January 3, 2021, celebrating all shapes and sizes of model trains and recreations of miniature landscapes. No detail escapes the builders of the quaint countryside and tiny towns. Locomotives of all sizes steam across covered bridges and roll slowly through crowded downtowns bustling with holiday shoppers. The trains on McWane’s magical rail lines persevere through a thunderstorm and chug past a drive-in movie theater, calling to mind memories of a simpler time.

Train lovers of all ages will be mesmerized by the wonder of the rails. It’s an unforgettable holiday ticket to ride for everyone–from toddlers to seniors–that fires the imagination. All aboard for a terrific holiday treat!

The Magic of Model Trains is just one of the many Magic of Winter events planned to give families hours of holiday fun at McWane Science Center. Check out mcwane.org for details on the Grab-A-GrinchVirtual Visit with SantaMcWane Makers’ Market, and more. The Magic of Winter events at McWane Science Center are presented by Royal Cup Coffee and Tea.

 

About McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) science center, children’s museum, natural history museum, aquarium and IMAX Dome Theater featuring IMAX with Laser projection technology. Designed to “spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science,” McWane Science Center was named “Alabama Tourism Attraction of the Year” for 2020 and has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The McWane Collection houses the largest collection of fossils in Alabama. Visit mcwane.org for more information.

Media contact: Melanie McCraney

mbmcommm@yahoo.com (205) 910-1323

Learning Labs provide relief for families struggling with distance learning

 (Birmingham, AL) McWane Science Center is offering on-site Learning Labs to provide students grades 1-6 with a safe, supervised environment in which they can attend their virtual or remote classes. As families strive to determine the best educational path for their children during this uncertain time, some are choosing virtual or remote learning options rather than sending their children to school campuses. This can be overwhelming for parents who must balance work and/or the responsibilities of managing their households while juggling their children’s distance learning.

McWane Science Center Learning Labs provide an option for families that are searching for support. Learning Labs are available beginning November 2, and registration is open. Cost per child is $300 per week. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Hours are 7:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with the exception of a couple of short weeks during the holidays.

Learning Labs classrooms at McWane have a class size limit of 12 students per class. All children are required to wear masks, and social distancing is practiced throughout the museum. McWane follows a regimented cleaning and disinfecting protocol. Learning Labs are offered for one-week sessions, beginning November 2 and continuing through the week ending December 31. Register online: www.mcwane.org/learn/learning-lab/.

For more information about Learning Labs, registration, or scholarships, visit the link above or contact Susan Tipton: (205) 714-8305, stipton@mcwane.org.

About McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) science center, children’s museum, natural history museum, aquarium, and IMAX Dome Theater featuring an IMAX with Laser projection system. Designed to “spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science, McWane Science Center was named “Alabama Tourism Attraction of the Year” for 2020 and has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The McWane Collection houses the largest collection of fossils in Alabama. Visit mcwane.org for more information.

Media contact: Melanie McCraney

mbmcommm@yahoo.com (205)910-1323

Programs Will Support and Engage Preschoolers in Exploring the Wonders of Science

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PNC Foundation Funds McWane Science Center’s New Digital Technology Initiative

Programs will Support and Engage Preschoolers in Exploring the Wonders of Science

October 7, 2020

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–McWane Science Center and the PNC Foundation have announced a $25,000 grant as part of an effort to expand science education accessibility for more than 20,000 of the region’s youngest learners. The funding, made possible through the PNC Foundation as part of its signature philanthropic early education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great®, will support the establishment of a new virtual science initiative offering digital access to interactive science programming for local students, educators and families.

“We’ve had the privilege of funding several early learning initiatives and interactive exhibits with McWane Science Center, and this latest grant reflects our continued commitment to investing in quality programs that engage the entire family in science education,” said Nick Willis, PNC regional president for Alabama.

Virtual Itty Bitty Science will offer children and families engaging, hands-on digital programming, using live video and social media to deliver teacher training, parent/child workshops and at-home science activities, along with virtual field trips featuring Itty Bitty Magic City.

“We’re so thankful for the generous support PNC continues to provide to help sustain our mission to spark wonder and curiosity through science. For eight years, McWane Science Center and PNC have worked together to ignite a love of learning in our young children, helping educate and inspire tomorrow’s innovators, problem-solvers, and community leaders,” said McWane Science Center CEO Amy Templeton.

Here’s a look at some of McWane Science Center’s new digital early childhood programming:

Little Labs Live: Little Labs uses digital video to introduce young children to science concepts through a story or experience.  The children receive an activity or experiment that they can do at home to help reinforce the subject matter.

Digital Word of the Week videos: “Word of the Week” episodes will be developed and delivered to the community through social media, e-blasts, and community partnerships. Each segment features a science vocabulary word and an accompanying experiment to demonstrate how the vocabulary word applies to real life.

Kitchen Science:  Families will be encouraged to use household items to introduce and engage their young children in science exploration. 

Virtual Teacher Training Workshops with classroom kits: McWane Science Center’s early childhood experts work directly with teachers from preschool classrooms to provide them with tips and resources to help them teach science to young learners. Participating teachers receive lesson plans to help them impart scientific knowledge with their students.

About PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

About McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) science center, children’s museum, natural history museum, aquarium and IMAX with Laser Dome Theater. Designed to “spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science, McWane Science Center was named “Alabama Tourism Attraction of the Year for 2020 and has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The McWane Collection houses the largest collection of fossils in Alabama. Visit mcwane.org for more information.

-END-

Media Contact: Melanie McCraney

mbmcomm@yahoo.com  (205) 910-1323

McWane Science Center Named Alabama's Top Attraction!

McWane Science Center has been selected as the Alabama Tourism Attraction of the Year for 2020. The award, presented by the Alabama Tourism Department, recognizes McWane’s excellence in providing visitors with an immersive and entertaining learning experience that attracts visitors from near and far. In presenting the award in Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell said, “McWane brings science alive for youngsters in ways that are not only educational, but absolutely magical. The place appears to be different every time a youngster visits. It is one resource in Alabama that has no equal.”

In addition to providing museum visitors with interactive exhibits that spark wonder and curiosity about the world through hands-on-science, McWane Science Center also serves as a research hub. The center houses one of the Southeast’s largest natural history collections, home to nearly half a million specimens and artifacts.

Amy Templeton, President & CEO, McWane Science Center

It speaks to our team’s resilience, commitment and innovation in carrying out our mission in spite of the challenges, and our dedication to serving our community no matter the circumstances

“We are grateful to receive this honor from the Alabama Tourism Department, especially in the midst of this pandemic. It speaks to our team’s resilience, commitment and innovation in carrying out our mission in spite of the challenges, and our dedication to serving our community no matter the circumstances,” said McWane Science Center CEO Amy Templeton.  Templeton praised the McWane Science Center staff for their creativity, passion and dedication. “We don’t separate science from fun. We are thrilled that our interactive exhibits, IMAX Dome Theater and extensive natural history collection officially put us on the map as a top attraction,” said Templeton.

About McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) science center, children’s museum, natural history museum, aquarium and IMAX with Laser Dome Theater. Designed to “spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science, McWane Science Center has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The McWane Collection houses the largest collection of fossils in Alabama. Visit mcwane.org for more information.is, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Newly discovered species are similar to this Sandtiger shark

These new species are ancient relatives of modern Sand Tiger Sharks

Birmingham, AL (July 22, 2020) – Today, a team of scientists is pleased to announce the discovery of two new fossil shark species from the southeastern U.S. The team is headed by David Cicimurri, Curator of Natural History, South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, along with Jun Ebersole, Director of Collections, McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL, and George Martin, retired USDA soil scientist from Auburn, AL. The two new species date from the Paleogene Period, roughly 65 and 35 million years ago, respectively, and were named based on hundreds of isolated teeth that were discovered in south Alabama and central Georgia.

The two new species are members of the same genus, Mennerotodus, a group of extinct sharks that were known previously from only Europe and Asia. The older species, Mennerotodus mackayi, was discovered in Alabama and lived during the Paleocene Epoch. According to Ebersole, “this new species appeared just after the extinction of the dinosaurs, and based on the number of teeth we recovered, it was likely one of the more common species in the ancient Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago”. This extinct shark species was named for John L. Mackay, the initial President and CEO of McWane Science Center and is in honor of Mackay’s lifelong career in furthering informal education.

The second shark, Mennerotodus parmleyi, lived during the Eocene Epoch, roughly 35 million years ago. This new shark, according to Cicimurri, was named from hundreds of teeth recovered from a defunct kaolinite mine in central Georgia. “These teeth were originally identified as two or three different species”, said Cicimurri, “but our reanalysis of the teeth showed they instead belonged to an entirely new species.” This new species was named for Dr. Dennis Parmley, retired professor at Georgia College and State University, in honor of his contributions to the study of fossils in Georgia.

Before naming these two species, the team of scientists spent months reconstructing the dentitions of these ancient sharks from hundreds of isolated teeth and comparing them to modern species. According to Cicimurri, “by piecing together and examining the dentitions of these new shark species, we were able to determine that they are closely related to modern Sandtiger Sharks, so close in fact, that we were able to use modern Sandtiger jaws to reconstruct them.”

“Like in modern Sandtiger Sharks, the front teeth in the mouths of the fossil species are very tall and fang-like” said Ebersole. “These teeth often project out of the mouth, giving the shark a snaggle-toothed appearance, and were perfect for feeding on fishes, crabs, squids, and even other sharks”, he continued.

After examining additional teeth from various museum collections, the team was able to conclude that Mennerotodus teeth are relatively common in the southeastern U.S. According to Cicimurri, “both shark species can be found in Alabama, and we were also able to confirm Mennerotodus mackayi teeth in Arkansas.” “These teeth are significant because they represent the first occurrence of Mennerotodus in North America,” said Ebersole, “and because the Mennerotodus mackayi teeth in Alabama are older than those from other parts of the world, it strongly suggests that this group of sharks originated right here in the ancient Gulf of Mexico.”

The study, titled Two new species of Mennerotodus Zhelezko, 1994 (Chondrichthyes: Lamniformes; Odontaspididae), from the Paleogene of the southeastern United States, was published today in the open access journal Fossil Record and can be downloaded here: https://fr.copernicus.org/

About McWane Science Center
McWane Science Center is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) science center, children’s museum, natural history museum, aquarium, and IMAX Dome Theater. Designed to “spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science,” McWane Science Center has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The McWane Collection houses the largest collection of fossils in the state of Alabama. For more information, visit www.mcwane.org.

About the South Carolina State Museum
Located in a historic textile mill, the South Carolina State Museum contains four floors of exhibits (art, cultural history, science and technology, natural history), as well as a planetarium, 4-D theater, and observatory. The natural history collection includes several hundred thousand specimens that document the history of the southeastern USA over the past 500 million years. For more information, visit www.scmuseum.org.

Media Contacts:

Miranda Springer
VP of Marketing and Development
McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL
(205)714-8304
kbaasen@mcwane.org

Melanie McCraney
McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL
(205)910-1323
mbmcomm@yahoo.com

Jun Ebersole
Director of Collections
McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL
(205)714-8347
jebersole@mcwane.org

July 8, 2020

(Birmingham, Alabama)          McWane Science Center reopened to happy visitors today with new health and safety guidelines in place. The opening marks Phase 2 of a reopening schedule that launched in June with Camp McWane. The museum had been closed since March when local businesses were ordered to close because of COVID-19.  All visitors age 8 and older are now required to wear masks and children between the ages of 3 and 7 are encouraged to wear masks. Social distancing guidelines are being applied, and there are new cleaning protocols to help ensure the safety and well-being of visitors.

“We are thrilled to welcome everyone back to McWane. We have missed the voices and excitement that make every day an adventure in our exhibition halls,” said McWane Science Center President and CEO Amy Templeton, who adds that the health and safety of visitors is always the top priority. “The new safety guidelines are being well-received, and our team has worked hard to make it easy for visitors to follow the rules.” In implementing the health and safety measures, McWane is following the rules and recommendations from the CDC and local governments.

In addition to the social distancing and mask policies, McWane has implemented new cleaning and sanitation protocols. Hand-cleaning stations are installed throughout the facility and disinfectant wipes are available at all interactive exhibits. High touch surfaces are disinfected frequently throughout the day and the entire facility is deep-cleaned nightly.

Elvis Presley Guitar on Display!

The special exhibit Guitar:  The Instrument that Rocked the World is being held over through Labor Day. This exhibition from The National Guitar Museum features hands-on interactives for all ages, video performances, x-ray images of guitars’ inner workings and plenty of opportunities to strum and jam. Visitors experience the science of sound and the cultural impact of the guitar by exploring more than 70 instruments and 100 historical artifacts-ranging from the rare and antique to the wildly popular and innovative.

The IMAX theatre is open, with seating reconfigured for social distancing. Itty-Bitty Magic City, the area designed especially for preschoolers will reopen August 5. McWane Science Center is open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. until 5pm and Sunday noon until 5.

About McWane Science Center:

The fun never ends at McWane Science Center, a nonprofit, hands-on discovery museum and IMAX® Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder — from an amazing collection of dinosaurs, to innovative environmental showcases, imaginative early childhood playgrounds, and an awe-inspiring aquarium.

The energy and excitement of discovery spring to life through an extensive lineup of science demonstrations performed daily by award-winning educators. The adventure intensifies in the IMAX® Dome Theater where wide-eyed visitors experience the sights and sounds of breath-taking films on a 5-story-tall screen surrounded by three tons of high-intensity speakers.

Media Contact:

Melanie McCraney (205)910-1323