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Smithsonian Museum of Natural HistorySant Ocean Hall

Smithsonian Ocean Portal

NOAA Scientists Chat with Museum-goers at the Smithsonian Sant Ocean Hall

NOAA Scientists Chat with Museum-goers at the Smithsonian Sant Ocean Hall

NOAA scientist Billy Sweet talks with visitors to the Smithsonian Sant Ocean Hall about NOAA sea level rise research.

Starting in 2003, NOAA became a principal partner in the Smithsonian Institution’s largest renovation in its century-long history. Five years later, in September 2008, the Sant Ocean Hall opened in the National Museum of Natural History – a venerable venue located on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

NOAA continues to contribute to Sant Ocean Hall in a variety of ways, including from behind the scenes. NOAA scientists get a chance to take center stage, though, when they participate as volunteers in the museum’s weekly “Scientist Is In” program.

From 1-3 pm on the third Wednesday of the month, NOAA scientists – whose jobs may be to study coral reefs, track hurricanes, or delve deeply into the past to determine how Earth’s climate has changed over time – show visitors specimens or artifacts and talk about ocean research, new discoveries, and other topics.

“Many colleagues tell me that they became scientists because as children they met scientists who inspired them,” says Joanne Flanders of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, who coordinates NOAA’s participation in the program. “They find that informally discussing their work provides a bridge between science and the public, and rekindles their own curiosity and love of learning.”

For more information on Sant Ocean Hall and the Scientist Is In program, visit