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National Museum of Natural History announces three exhibitions opening Sept 17

The National Museum of Natural History will open three exhibitions Sept. 17 featuring the interconnected relationship between people and the ocean. The 23,000-square-foot Sant Ocean Hall opened in September 2008 with the mission to share the history of the ocean and its importance to contemporary society with the public. The hall is named for Roger and Vicki Sant, Washington philanthropists and Smithsonian supporters who donated $15 million in 2008 to support the renovation and opening of the hall. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration partnered with the museum in 2008 to develop the Ocean Hall and contributed to the recent renovations to the “Living on an Ocean Planet” gallery. This gallery and two temporary exhibitions, located within the Sant Ocean Hall, explore the intimate connection between human activity and the ocean through three different lenses:

“Portraits of Planet Ocean: The Photography of Brian Skerry” presents scenes of beauty and tragedy in the ocean from the eyes of acclaimed marine photographer Brian Skerry through 20 photographs and a film.

“Fragile Beauty: The Art & Science of Sea Butterflies” shares the story of how ocean acidification is affecting sea butterfly populations and threatening ocean ecosystems through the sculptures of artist Cornelia Kubler Kavanagh and the research of biological oceanographer Gareth Lawson at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The “Living on an Ocean Planet” gallery is a newly renovated space that prompts visitors to consider how their decisions and actions can foster a healthy and sustainable relationship between humankind and the ocean planet. The new gallery emphasizes humanity’s longstanding close connection with the ocean, addresses the urgency of conserving marine ecosystems and underscores the environmental, economic and cultural importance of the sea.

To learn more about how the ocean and people are interrelated, visit the museum’s Ocean Portal at: