Science Center upgrading theater with "precision white screen technology"

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Science Center is spending thousands of dollars to upgrade its theater.

Museum management says it should mean a more exciting experience for visitors.

On Tuesday, workers used a crane to lower a four-story-tall movie screen, rolled into a 48-foot crate, into the science center's 225-seat theater.

The old I-Max system is gone, to be replaced by a new digital video system. It is the first major upgrade since the theater opened in 1988.

"It's the first screen of its kind in Kentucky," said museum Executive Director Joanna Haas. "So we are the first movie theater to install a screen with what is called Precision White Screen Technology."

That technology features a smooth white surface which is said to generate a better image on the screen for improved viewing quality in both 2-D and 3-D.

"One of the things we haven't been able to do," explained Haas, "is to show Hollywood films. We will be able to do that now, and also will have a lot of flexibility in partnering with folks like KET, the universities around here, and independent filmmakers."

Haas says the museum is getting the new system at bargain prices.

She says, "We are getting this entire digital upgrade for a little less than $400,000."

In addition to improved picture quality, a new sound system is also being installed.

The science center attracts about 350,000 visitors a year. To keep people coming, attractions like the center have to constantly stay on the cutting edge.

The science center was the start of what has become "Museum Row" along West Main Street in downtown Louisville.

"We were one of the very first on Main Street, when the Main Street renaissance was envisioned by city leaders back in the 1970's," Haas said.

Installation of the new system will take several weeks, with a big reopening weekend set for Feb. 8.

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