New celestial exhibits open at State Museum — with a little help from NASA head Charles Bolden

08/16/2014 5:38 PM

08/16/2014 6:01 PM

Residents got their first look at the State Museum’s new observatory, planetarium and 4-D theater on Saturday.

The long-awaited Windows to New Worlds exhibits got a proper christening, too – with an astronaut, as NASA director and Columbia native Charles F. Bolden made a surprise visit.

There were plenty of ‘wows’ and ‘ooos.’

More than 2,000 visitors were expected by the end of the day, museum spokeswoman Anna Kate Twitty said. About 200 people were already in line when the museum opened at 9 a.m., including at least one woman who camped out overnight.

The first 100 visitors received a year-long, free museum pass.

“I would relate it back to when we opened our doors in October 1988,” Twitty said. “It’s the second-biggest thing we’ve ever done besides opening our doors. I’ve received so many great comments, so many people amazed.”

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