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 tool that can enhance learning in many 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 using SOS for service, teaching, and/or scholarship. 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 taking the training can email


Occasionally, The Sphere Theater will be open to the public with programs 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.


JMU offers a student-led program, appropriate for middle school students. 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. The program consists of the following:

 Program Details:

  • The maximum group size is 52 people (including chaperones).
  • Programs are offered on many Mondays and Fridays. Specific times are listed on the reservation form. Please note that reservations are subject to space and staff availability. Programs are not available on federal holidays or JMU holidays.
  • The program is 45 minutes in length.
  • There is no charge.
  • Requests must be submitted at least two weeks in advance.

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


A limited number of JMU faculty-led programs, appropriate for elementary school students, are also available. Visits must be arranged in advance and are scheduled based on faculty availability. A link to the request form is provided below.

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

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

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


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