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News Release
Celebrating OMSI's Birthday: OMSI to Host Events, Science Demos, and More to Commemorate 75 Years of Science Education - 11/07/19

Portland, Ore. – The world witnessed a number of significant events in 1944: Smokey Bear was first introduced to teach about wildfire; the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series; George Lucas, Danny DeVito, and Michael Douglas were born; and Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to be elected to a fourth term. Meanwhile in Portland, efforts to establish a permanent museum had finally paid off and on November 15, 1944, OMSI was born!

During the first few years, a small writing room in the Portland Hotel housed the museum’s headquarters. Then in 1949, a few years after officially becoming a museum, OMSI set up temporarily in a house on NE Hassalo Street and included the first planetarium in the Pacific Northwest.

The museum quickly outgrew that space, and the City Council offered land in Washington Park – and on a single day in 1957, hundreds of volunteers laid thousands of bricks to raise the walls of the museum's new building. Over the next 30 years, millions of children and adults came to OMSI for hands-on science activities, science fairs, featured exhibits, and a memorable blue and green planetarium.

But by the mid-1980s, OMSI was so popular that 600,000 people per year were coming to a museum built to accommodate only 100,000. Longtime OMSI supporter Portland General Electric stepped in and generously donated nearly 20 acres for the current building on Water Avenue, and the museum doors opened on October 24, 1992. 

Next week, the museum is holding a series of special events, science demos and games to celebrate 75 years of inspiring curiosity through engaging science-learning experiences.

November 11
•    10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Submarine Science | Main Lobby 
Learn about density and buoyancy from our submarine staff and volunteers. 
•    10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Meet a Submariner | Main Lobby
Meet a submarine veteran and learn what life was like on a submarine.
•    2 p.m. | USS Blueback Commissioning | Auditorium 
A presentation with Bill Diltz, OMSI’s submarine supervisor, and Ron Bell, submarine veteran and USS Blueback volunteer. Commissioned into the U.S. Navy on October 15, 1959, the USS Blueback earned two battle stars for service during the Vietnam War, and appears in the movie “The Hunt for Red October.” Join us to hear about this submarine and its adventures.
•    3 p.m. | How the USS Blueback Came to OMSI | Auditorium
A presentation with Dave Vrooman and Bob Walters, submarine veterans and USS Blueback volunteers. Hear the story of what it took to get the USS Blueback over 172 miles from Bremerton, Washington, to Portland. Go behind-the-scenes with two Navy veterans who were here the day it arrived.

November 12
•    2:30 p.m. | Soda + Mentos Craziness | Front Plaza
Soda and Mentos make quite an eruption. We plan to scale up and go big for OMSI's Birthday.

November 13
•    1 p.m. | Hydrogen Balloon Explosion | Turbine Hall
We’re filling balloons with hydrogen and blowing them up!
•    3:30 p.m. | Sugar Flares with a Birthday Cake | Chemistry Lab
Sometimes you have a cake...sometimes you use chemistry to turn the cake into a flare.

November 14
•    10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Before OMSI or After OMSI | Turbine Hall
Test your knowledge of scientific discoveries by classifying events as happening either before or after OMSI was established.
•    1-5 p.m. | Birthday Cupcake Flamethrower | Chemistry Lab
Most people blow out the candles on a cake, OMSI prefers to blow up the candles!
•    3:30 p.m. | Sugar Flares with a Birthday Cake | Chemistry Lab
Sometimes you have a cake... sometimes you use chemistry to turn the cake into a flare.

November 15
•    9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Musical Tesla Coils | Auditorium
Tesla Coils make lightning. And with the right song, those lightning bolts can sing and dance!
•    10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Before OMSI or After OMSI | Turbine Hall
Test your knowledge of scientific discoveries by classifying events as happening either before or after OMSI was established.
•    10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Best of OMSI Experiments | Chemistry Lab
A collection of our favorite experiments for visitors to try - flubber, color-changing fire, and more!
•    2:30 – 7 p.m. | Birthday Cards to OMSI | Teen Tech Center
Help us celebrate OMSI's birthday by creating electric, light-up birthday cards for science.
•    3:30 p.m. | Sugar Flares with a Birthday Cake | Chemistry Lab
Sometimes you have a cake... sometimes you use chemistry to turn the cake into a flare.

November 16
•    10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Before OMSI or After OMSI | Turbine Hall
Test your knowledge of scientific discoveries by classifying events as happening either before or after OMSI was established.
•    10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Spin Art | Discovery Lab
Show off your creative ideas by adding paint to a spinning disk and see how your creation spins to life.
•    3:30 p.m. | Sugar Flares with a Birthday Cake | Chemistry Lab
Sometimes you have a cake... sometimes you use chemistry to turn the cake into a flare.

View more news releases from OMSI.