The awesome destructive power of volcanoes, earthquakes, and tornadoes is examined as scientists seek to understand how these natural disasters are triggered and what can be done to minimize their deadly effects. Combining striking archival footage with computer-created reenactments and interviews, the film's sequence on volcanoes is centered on the massive Soufriere Hills eruption of 1995. A tremor in Izmit, Turkey – which cost the lives of 17,000 – sets the stage for the segment on earthquakes, while Dr. Joshua Wurman leads a group of "storm chasers" as the filmmakers investigate tornadoes. Kevin Bacon narrates this National Geographic Society production.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions? We have answers! Explore frequently asked questions. For more information please contact us at Info@OMSI.edu or (503) 797-4000.
The Empirical Theater has an upper-level wheelchair accessible entrance and theater restrooms; due to the layout of the theater the lower-level main entrance is only accessible by stairs. Please check in with a Guest Services Representative or volunteer for assistance in locating these areas.
Several daytime documentaries and newer evening full-features offer closed captions, audio description, and volume amplification. The CaptiView closed caption units allow guests to see captions for their show by using a cup holder device that they can adjust within their view, and the Fidelio RX audio description units deliver descriptive narration and can also amplify the theater volume and dialogue.
The Showing Today signs updated daily at the front desk and theater entrance indicate which features offer closed captions (CC) and audio description (AD), while volume amplification is available for all theater content including events such as Science Pub and Reel Science.
Limited quantities of the following devices are available for theater guests and may be requested at either the Front Desk or Concierge Desk as well as from the theater usher:
- CaptiView closed caption (CC) viewing devices
- Fidelio RX audio description and volume amplification units
- Williams Sound NKL-001 neck loops designed to work with hearing aids equipped with a telephone coil or T-Switch
The rough inside measurements of the seats not including arm and back rests:
- Theater seats 16.5” wide and 21.5” deep
- Two VIP chairs 21.5” wide and 19” deep
- Additional VIP chair available by request is 23.5” wide and 21.5” deep
- The weight capacity for the VIP chairs are between 200lbs-250lbs
Earplugs can be requested from the Front Desk and Concierge Desk, and sensory resource packs that include:
- Noise reducing headphones
- Fidget toys
- Visual and auditory timer
- 2 pound weighted shoulder wrap
- Sanitizing wipes
- Our Empirical Café features:
Made-to-order coffee drinks
Grab-and-go salads and sandwiches
Beer and Wine (available evenings only)
Popcorn, candy, and a selection of classic movie theater treats
Films in the Empirical Theater start promptly with no previews. Be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early.
For safety and enhanced viewing experience, re-entry is not allowed during short documentary films. For longer featured films, re-entry is allowed.