After nearly two months of undergoing a conversion from its 70mm IMAX film projection system to a new 4K digital system, the National Naval Aviation Museum opened its new “Giant Screen Theater” this week.
The theater opened to the public on Wednesday with a premiere of the new digital format of the Museum’s flagship film, “The Magic of Flight.”
The upgraded theater now features a premium laser-illuminated 2D projection system boasting full 4K resolution — equalling nearly 9 million pixels on screen — and a powerful new sound system. It is the first of its kind installed in an institutional theater in the world, officials said, and has the capability of showing Hollywood feature films.
“With the new wide and curved screen, visitors are guaranteed an immersive experience from every seat in the house,” said Malerie Shelton, director of marketing and public relations for the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. “You’ll see an incredibly detailed picture, like you’re looking through a glass window.”
The theater is fully ADA-compliant and features LED lighting, wider, luxury seating with armrests, double cup-holders and custom tables between most seats, new carpeting and a rubberized flooring.
The theater will continue to show educational and exciting films with seven showings daily. Primarily dedicated to the large screen, the 325-seat theater also has multimedia, multipurpose capability and has been the site for a broad range of presentations, from lectures to choral groups to ballet.
The lobby will also receive a facelift with new amenities and a concessions counter. Construction has already begun in the lobby and is set to be complete in April. There will be a special, family-friendly opening day event for the community shortly after completion.
The National Naval Aviation Museum, one of TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Museums in the United States,” features nearly 350,000 square feet of displays and is one of the world’s largest aviation museums. Located aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, the facility boasts more than 150 beautifully-restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviation, and is one of Florida’s most visited museums.
Museum admission is free and open to the public. The National Naval Aviation Museum is open daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.