FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2007
Birmingham Public Library
Birmingham Public Library Presents Smithsonian Poster Exhibit Celebrating 200th Anniversary of NOAA Predecessor
Every day, cruise ships sail from Miami; coal ships deliver to power plants along the shores of the Great Lakes; crabbing boats harvest Alaskan king crab in the Bering Sea; and weekenders prepare their boats for leisurely afternoons on the Chesapeake Bay. Each one of these mariners uses the resources of NOAA’s Navigation Services to safely navigate U.S. coastal waters.
In recognition of this landmark 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Survey of the Coast, NOAA and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) have created the exhibit, “From Sea to Shining Sea: 200 Years of Charting America’s Coasts,” which opens June 21 on the first floor at Birmingham Public Library's Central location and will be on display until August 2. The library is one of 200 venues nationwide to be a part of this special celebration. To view a complete list of host organizations, visit www.sites.si.edu/host/fromseatoshiningsea.htm.
In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson recognized the need to chart the coastal waters of this country as vital to the independence and prosperity of the economy and to the security of this fledgling Nation. With his foresight, Jefferson compelled Congress to pass an Act establishing “the Survey of the Coast,” a predecessor agency of today’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Survey of the Coast charted the nation’s ports and waterways, researched physical characteristics of the ocean bottom, and explored many of the world’s oceans. The organization was known for a tradition of perseverance, scientific integrity, engraving and charting skills, and courage.
This exhibit, which will be shown in maritime museums, ports, aquaria, nature centers, schools, libraries and lighthouses, celebrates the history, accomplishments and scientific contributions of the nation’s first science agency. The 20 colorful posters are illustrated with photos, charts and artwork from the Survey’s archives.
“This year we are proud to be holding a year-long celebration of 200 years of science, service, and stewardship to the nation originating with the Survey of the Coast,” said Captain Steven R. Barnum, director of NOAA Office of Coast Survey, which is one of the four offices that continues to carry out the original agency's mission. “We are honored that our partnership with the Smithsonian Institution has produced this vibrant depiction of our history to help us commemorate this distinguished occasion.”
Today, waterborne commerce remains the backbone of the U.S. economy, contributing more than 13 million jobs and $1 trillion annually. In the past two centuries, the Survey has mapped more than 95,000 miles of coastline, produced more than 20,000 nautical maps and charts, installed more than 6,000 tide stations, helped predict the movement of oil spills, established the Pacific Tsunami Warning System and maintained the national network of more than 1,000 GPS reference sites. Though the methods have changed throughout time, Jefferson’s legacy lives on in NOAA’s navigation services as they continue to benefit safety, national security and economic competitiveness.
An agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects." “From Sea from Sea to Shining Sea” is part of a series of anniversary events sponsored by NOAA. For more information, visit http://www.noaa.gov/ and www.celebrating200years.noaa.gov.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu.