On Oct. 15 the major immersive exhibition “James Cameron – CHALLENGING THE DEEP” opens at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. The exhibition explores filmmaker James Cameron’s extensive career as a deep-sea explorer and his many history-making expeditions.
Developed by the Australian National Maritime Museum, “James Cameron – CHALLENGING THE DEEP” takes visitors to the depths of our oceans through the lens of Cameron’s underwater cameras and his other incredible technological innovations that have enabled us to see the least-known places on Earth.
Cameron has had a lifelong fascination with the deep oceans. He has led eight major deep-sea expeditions and many submersible dives, setting world firsts including the first solo dive to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the first exploration of the interior of the wreck of RMS Titanic, and the first seafloor-to-surface live broadcast.
Cameron’s expeditions, in collaboration with oceanographic and scientific institutions, have documented the shipwrecks of RMS Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck, explored deep-ocean phenomena such as black smoker hydrothermal vents and discovered new species from the lowest point on Earth. They have been chronicled in his documentaries and now, for the first time, in a major exhibition, “James Cameron – CHALLENGING THE DEEP.”
Entering the exhibition through a recreation of a MiR submersible, visitors encounter a single immersive environment of cinema presentations, rare artifacts, and specimens from Cameron’s careers as an explorer and filmmaker.
The exhibition includes the technical innovations Cameron developed to make the pioneering underwater feature film “The Abyss” in 1988, including the unique diving helmet he wore during the shoot alongside the original maquettes of the Pseudopod and the alien Manta Ship from this classic science-fiction feature film.
Visitors watch as Cameron explores the wreck of RMS Titanic on three expeditions and can see models, hand props and costumes from his blockbuster film “Titanic.” Highlights include costumes from the film and the iconic “Heart of the Ocean” necklace and Jack’s sketches, which were drawn by Cameron himself.
Visitors vicariously accompany young scientists on some of their 43 dives with Cameron on his Aliens of the Deep Expedition to examine thriving deep-ocean life, spectacular volcanic vents and geology that unlocks the potential secrets of life on other planets. And from Expedition Bismarck, they watch survivors of the battleship revisit the last resting place of their comrades and their giant warship.
Finally, voyage with Cameron to the deepest known point of the Earth’s surface on his historic solo dive more than 33,000 feet down to the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench in the revolutionary DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible Cameron designed and built secretly in Sydney, Australia, and California.
The exhibition includes artifacts from the design development of the vessel, specimens collected on its expeditions and the Explorers Club flag which he took with him on the history-making solo voyage to the deepest part of the ocean.
“James Cameron – CHALLENGING THE DEEP” will run October 15, 2022, through May 7, 2023. Tickets are: $16 for Adults; $12 for Children (3-12); Free for Museum Members. For further information or to book, visit naturalsciences.org/thedeep.
“James Cameron – CHALLENGING THE DEEP” is a traveling exhibition produced by the Australian National Maritime Museum, in association with the Avatar Alliance Foundation, and is toured internationally by Flying Fish. A USA Programs exhibition supported by the USA Bicentennial Gift Fund. Sponsored locally by SECU and WRAL/FOX 50 with additional media support from INDY Week, PBS North Carolina and WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio.
About the NC Museum of Natural Sciences
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh (11 and 121 W. Jones St.) is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world. In addition to two downtown buildings showcasing seven floors of world-class exhibits, the Museum runs Prairie Ridge Ecostation, a 45-acre outdoor education and research facility in west Raleigh, as well as satellite facilities in Whiteville, Greenville and Grifton (Contentnea Creek). Our mission is to illuminate the natural world and inspire its conservation. Downtown Raleigh Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. General admission is free. For more information, visit www.naturalsciences.org.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.