Skip to content.
Media Room - William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater Fact sheet

William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater Fact sheet

Printable version (PDF | 102 KB)


The William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater, a convertible IMAX® Dome, the only convertible dome theater in the United States


Science Museum of Minnesota, level 5
120 West Kellogg Boulevard
Downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota


Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors climb the highest mountains, plunge to the ocean depths, soar through outer space, and come face to face with Earth's most fascinating species, all from the comfort of the Science Museum's Omnitheater seats. The Omnitheater's unique brand of immersive entertainment has been one of the leading attractions at the Upper Midwest's most visited museum since the original Omnitheater opened in 1978. Today, the Science Museum's Omnitheater uses one of the most technologically sophisticated theater systems in the world to put viewers in the heart of the dramatic action.

The Omnitheater comfortably holds 375 people with impeccable sight lines from every seat. The theater is also maximally flexible, able to show giant screen films as well as a variety of digital formats.


Theater fans love the way the Omnitheater's power, clarity, comfort, and flexibility enable them to experience a story like no other theater can. The Omnitheater has two screens and two projectors. Its 89-foot-diameter dome screen is specially designed for use with the IMAX® projector, which uses the world's largest film format. Visitors will often see this massive dome being lowered over their heads at the beginning of an Omnitheater show, showcasing the trademark feature of the first convertible dome IMAX® theater in the United States. Due to the dome's massive size, movie-goers can look up, down, right, and left, and find themselves fully surrounded by the movie's crystal-clear visuals and audio.

When the dome is raised, visitors have a clear view of a stage and a 90-foot-wide flat screen, compatible with the theater's Hughes-JVC projector, one of the most powerful digital projection systems in existence.

Theater seats specially made in Spain (Figueras seating company) offer comfort and plenty of legroom, as all seats are "first class." Visitors with special needs are accommodated with a centrally located wheelchair deck and special enhancements available for sight- or hearing-impaired guests.


The Science Museum of Minnesota is an established leader in the giant screen film industry. In 1978, the Science Museum of Minnesota introduced the magic of giant screen theaters to middle America, opening the second giant screen dome theater ever built in the world. The Science Museum has produced 11 original giant screen films to date. The Science Museum's educational and inspirational giant screen films have been seen by 60 million people in 24 countries.


The convertible dome screen moves over visitors' heads like a convertible roof on a car. Massive swinging arms pivot the dome into position. The dome screen is nearly nine stories from top to bottom, and weighs 160 metric tons. The flat screen is 70 feet high by 90 feet wide.

While theater fans love the Omnitheater for its one-of-a-kind visuals, the sound system is also something to experience. The Omnitheater audio system's crystal clear digital sound resonates perfectly from six of the theater's eight loudspeaker arrangements. There are four speaker clusters mounted to the dome structure, two clusters mounted to the flat screen, and two clusters mounted to the ceiling at the rear of the theater. The Omnitheater uses 14,400 watt, six channel surround sound audio power to immerse audiences in sound superior to that found in commercial theaters.

The convertible dome Omnitheater is as much a marvel for its comfort, superior technology and versatility as it is for its breathtaking film presentations.


Kim Ramsden, PR Director, (651) 221-9423
Sarah Imholte, PR Coordinator, (651) 221-9412
Peg Roessler, Roessler Public Relations, (612) 200-8600