By Kris McDowell
The major immersive exhibition James Cameron – CHALLENGING THE DEEP, a traveling exhibition produced by the Australian National Maritime Museum, is now on display at OMSI.
Walking into the exhibit, the rest of the museum seems to melt away as the instrumental music immerses visitors in an underwater environment. From there, cinema-scale projections, artifacts and specimens from the expeditions of Academy Award-winning director and deep-sea explorer James Cameron, takes one into the wonders of the deep.
“James Cameron’s passion for the deep oceans and scientific pursuits have placed him at the forefront of underwater exploration. He continues to challenge the deep oceans to unlock their secrets and shines a light on one of the most important and least explored parts of the Earth,” said Erin Graham, President and CEO of OMSI. “We’re excited to showcase how he has merged creative and technical achievements in deep-ocean science, engineering and exploration.”
Cameron has had a lifelong fascination with the deep oceans. He has led eight major deep-sea expeditions and many submersible dives, setting world firsts, including the first solo dive to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the first exploration of the interior of the wreck of the RMS Titanic and the first seafloor-to-surface live broadcast. He has also explored deep ocean phenomena such as black smoker hydrothermal vents and discovered new species from the lowest point on earth.
The exhibit includes a re-creation of a MIR submersible, a self-propelled deep-submergence vehicle; artifacts from Camerson’s rarely seen personal collection, including some from the design and construction of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, which was built to withstand water pressure of 16,000 pounds per square inch; and original film props and costumes from Cameron’s movies The Abyss and Titanic, including the iconic Heart of the Ocean diamond.
Visitors can explore the spectacular and mysterious abyss and discover the shipwrecks of Titanic and the German battleship, Bismarck and learn about how technologies pioneered by Cameron for underwater recording, lighting, communication and diving are employed both in his filmmaking and exploration.
The four cinema-scale projections have videos on loop that are timed so that visitors can progress from one to the next, with a few minutes in between to take in other aspects of the exhibit before moving on to the next one. The projections also serve to guide visitors along, introducing them to the next section of the exhibit.
Whether you’re a history/shipwreck fan, fascinated by creatures of the deep sea or a James Cameron movie buff, there’s something for everyone. Admission to the exhibit is included in general admission. More information for the exhibit, which runs through Sunday, September 25, and to reserve tickets at omsi.edu/james-cameron.
Photo by OMSI