DAVENPORT -- The theater at the Putnam Museum is now a National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, one of the first three in the world.
Putnam and National Geographic officials announced the news at a press conference Friday at the museum. As confetti exploded from the balcony, a large black cloth dramatically shimmied to the ground, revealing the new sign at the theater's entrance.
“We couldn't be happier than we are," said Kim Findlay, Putnam president/CEO.
Officials said the partnership has been in the works since last fall. The Putnam stopped showing IMAX movies in January, and reopened the theater with a state-of-the-art digital projection system and a new sound system in February, museum officials said.
Ms. Findlay said that for the past 10 years, the Putnam has brought flicks to the five-stories-by-six-stories screen.
Currently, National Geographic's "Flying Monsters 3D" is playing, and Mike Thoms, Putnam trustee and chair of the Putnam Public Offerings Committee, said the documentary “Meerkats 3D” will play this fall. Next year, the Putnam will show “Wildest Weather in the Solar System,” James Cameron's “Deepsea Challenge,” “Robots 3D” and more.
The partnership will not only bring movies, but also exhibits, speakers and explorers to the museum, Ms. Findlay said.
The Putnam will also continue to show feature films such as “Snow White and the Huntsman,” which is currently playing, and “The Dark Knight Rises,” which will open July 20. Upcoming feature films will include “Finding Nemo” and “The Hobbit," Mr. Thoms said.
The theater will also show classics such as “Casablanca,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” the “way they were meant to be seen,” Mr. Thoms said, “on a giant screen.”
This fall, the theater will begin showing more recent classics such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Top Gun” and “Ghostbusters.”
Museum officials said the National Geographic partnership fits with the Putnam's mission to connect people of all ages to history, cultures, nature and the environment.
With documentaries, feature films and classics, Mr. Thoms said, the museum will be able to serve people of all ages “and be educational at the same time.”
Officials said the new partnership not only will be good for the Putnam, but also for the Quad-Cities as a whole. Charlotte Doehler-Morrison, vice president of marketing and communications at the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the theater will attract tourists to the area, and she is excited about marketing it.
Ms. Findlay said the Putnam and the Quad-Cities will find a place on the map, as the theater will be featured in advertisements in National Geographic magazine and online. When people come to the area to see National Geographic movies, they'll be staying in area hotels, shopping at area shops, and dining in area restaurants, Ms. Findlay said.
“It's going to be good for everybody.”
The Putnam is one of the first three museums in the world to have a National Geographic affiliation. The other National Geographic screens are located in Buffalo, N.Y., and near Salt Lake City, Utah, said John Wickstrom, director of sales for National Geographic Cinema Ventures. Eight more affiliated theaters are scheduled to open by Sept. 1, he said.
Mr. Wickstrom said the network of partnerships with museums like the Putnam will help National Geographic make movies as well as show them.
He said he was pleased to welcome the Putnam to the National Geographic family. The Putnam is one of the “oldest” in the industry, Mr. Wickstrom said, and is a “rather prestigious institution.”
“For us, it's a great fit.”Geographic Giant Screen Theater.
Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.