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Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

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THE SPHERE THEATER contains Science On a Sphere (SOS), which uses computers and projectors to display data onto a 68 inch diameter sphere.  SOS was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is primarily utilized by museums and science centers for informal education. JMU’s Sphere Theater, located in Memorial Hall, is an educational resource that is available to a variety of audiences and can enhance learning in a wide range of disciplines.


JMU was the first university to install SOS and is one of a few universities to use SOS as a pedagogical tool in university courses. Examples of teaching and scholarship related to SOS at JMU can be found at

A brief training is available for faculty and staff interested in incorporating SOS into their curriculum. Faculty and staff SOS users have JACard access, reserve the space in advance, and self-host their classes or groups in the Sphere Theater. Faculty and staff interested in training can email


Occasionally, The Sphere Theater will be open to the public with presentations planned around a timely topic, weather or other event, or university events for parents, alumni, or prospective students. Please check back here for event announcements.


Interested in bringing a school group to the Sphere Theater? The OESS offers a student docent-facilitated program, appropriate for middle school audiences, that focuses on Earth systems science. Visits must be arranged in advance. A request form is provided at the end of this section. Please carefully read the information below prior to completing the form. You can preview program videos here:

 Program Details:

  • The maximum group size is 52 people (including chaperones).
  • Presentations are offered on many Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings. Specific times are listed on the reservation form. Please note that reservations are subject to space and staff availability. Presentations are not available on federal holidays or JMU holidays.
  • The presentation is 45 minutes in length.
  • There is no charge for JMU hosted presentations.
  • Please submit requests at least two weeks in advance.

To request a JMU-hosted Middle School Sphere Program, complete the REQUEST FORM


The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability is now offering the opportunity for licensed elementary school teachers to teach their own lessons in the Sphere Theater. This self-hosted option allows teachers to review and select in advance the visualizations they would like to use from an online dataset catalog, develop their own lesson related to the visualizations and present the lesson in the Sphere Theater. An OESS staff member will be present to run the technology.

To request a self-hosted Elementary School Sphere Program, complete the REQUEST FORM.