Michigan Science Center to reopen its IMAX Dome theater with custom seats

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

The Michigan Science Center, one of several Detroit cultural institutions that incurred serious damage after a historic storm last June led to flooding and sewage backups, is finally reopening its IMAX theater this month.

The Science Center's 239-seat IMAX Dome will reopen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Thursday where it will also show off all new custom-designed seating donated by Magna, an automotive supplier. After the ceremony, there will be showing of "Asteroid Hunters," a movie that delves into asteroids, their cosmic origins and the scientists who track and study them.

The new seats feature a type of technology created by Magna called FreeForm Trim. Typically used in cars, it offers improved seat back comfort with highly concave surfaces and contours that hug the human shape, according to Magna. 

The Michigan Science Center is reopening its IMAX Dome Theatre this month after it has been closed for nearly a year in the aftermath of a historic storm last year that damaged the facility.

“We are grateful to Magna for providing state-of-the-art seating for our IMAX Dome Theatre, which will allow our guests to relax in comfort while viewing inspirational and thought-provoking shows,” said Christian Greer, the science center's president and CEO, in a press release. “A large screen with 360-degree views provides an unforgettable experience for our guests and helps us achieve our mission of putting you at the center of science. We would not be able to offer these immersive opportunities without the help of generous sponsors like Magna.”

The science center's IMAX theater, considered the largest theater in Michigan, has been closed for nearly a year after a hard-hitting storm on June 26 last year dumped six inches of rain on Detroit in a matter of hours.

Several Detroit cultural institutions experienced flooding and sewage backups, including the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Fisher Theatre, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. The Motown Museum also incurred some damage.

At the science center, which is right next door to the Wright museum, most of the damage took place on the science center's lower level, forcing it to shut down for several months. New drywall, flooring and electrical infrastructure had to be installed in affected areas. It finally reopened in October but not the IMAX theater.

The IMAX Dome Theatre features 13,000-watt Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and a three-story high dome. It reopens to Science Center members Saturday and Sunday and the public on June 15.