EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) and Sea Research Foundation, Inc., which operates the acclaimed Mystic Aquarium, today announced that UTC will donate $1 million toward a major expansion and transformation of the aquarium’s Challenge of the Deep exhibit hall.
UTC’s donation will help pay for new exhibit space, features and exhibits that highlight the history of human undersea exploration, with emphasis on the exploits of renowned oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, whose Institute for Exploration is based at the Mystic Aquarium campus. Today’s joint announcement was made at the United Technologies Research Center, underscoring UTC’s commitment to innovation and exploration.
When completed in 2012, the exhibition hall will be renamed the “United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center” and will be the only exhibit in the world dedicated to deep sea oceanographic archaeology, geology and exploration. Upon entering, visitors will be immersed in displays that depict everything from mythical sea monsters to Dr. Ballard’s groundbreaking undersea discoveries of the RMS Titanic and other vessels, ancient and modern, as well as recent expeditions to the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.
“United Technologies has a proud history of supporting science and technology education and the communities in which we live and work,” said Dr. J. Michael McQuade, UTC Senior Vice President for Science & Technology. “This exploration center is closely aligned with UTC’s own history of pioneering innovation and discovery. We believe our donation will launch a major new attraction at the Mystic Aquarium, become the catalyst for even more contributions from others, and inspire generations of future scientists and engineers.”
Dr. Stephen M. Coan, Sea Research Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “United Technologies Corporation has a long and distinguished history of support for the work of Sea Research Foundation, and this donation underscores their commitment to the furthering of science, technology and engineering education. This significant donation makes it possible for us to dramatically reach more people of all ages with the inspiration of deep sea exploration.”
When completed, the new United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center will feature 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, seven distinct exhibit galleries, a permanent Titanic exhibit, a “4-D” motion theater with a unique deep dive show, and a new 10,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor plaza including covered dining area. The project also will include a grand new entrance way that will attract visitors to the up-to-date, interactive exhibits inside.
The United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center also will encompass the Nautilus Live Theater, in which visitors can watch live satellite transmissions of ongoing undersea research being conducted around the world by Dr. Ballard and his team aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus.
“Visitors to the United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center will learn the history of undersea exploration and the state-of-the-art techniques we employ today to uncover the secrets of the vast oceans that share our planet,” Dr. Ballard said.
Earlier this year, Dr. Ballard and his team completed a three-month mission aboard the Exploration Vehicle Nautilus in the Black Sea and Aegean Sea to map the sea floor, study underwater volcanoes, investigate unusual life forms, explore shipwrecks, and more.
The contribution furthers UTC’s long-standing commitment to supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational efforts. More than 700,000 guests visit Mystic Aquarium annually, making it the largest non-casino attraction in Southern New England. Sea Research Foundation is the region’s largest provider of educational outreach programs for K-12 students, including its innovative Immersion Learning program.
About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, operates Mystic Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums; Institute for Exploration, focused on deep sea ocean environments and led by Dr. Robert Ballard; Immersion Learning, an after-school distance learning and digital media company; and The JASON Project, dedicated to providing experience-based science curricula and professional development for grades 5-8. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.
About United Technologies Corp.
United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries. UTC’s products include Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines, Sikorsky helicopters, Carrier heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems, Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace systems and industrial products, Otis elevators and escalators, UTC Fire & Security systems and UTC Power fuel cells. More information can be found at www.utc.com.