The Great Pyramids from above.


Earth from Space title bar

Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.

Waters near Cuba. Courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFCHigh-tech satellites are constantly circling the globe, capturing conditions and events that are nearly impossible to document on the planet’s surface. With these precise, up-to-the-minute images, geologists, meteorologists, and other scientists can study how the Earth changes from day to day and year to year. Recording environmental cycles, natural disasters, and man-made ecological effects, satellite images provide clues about the dynamic nature of our planet.

Earth from Space was developed in collaboration with geographer and curator Andrew Johnston at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s (NASM) Center for Earth and Planetary Studies and won a 2007 U.S. Geological Survey communications award for science content. Vivid freestanding banners present rare views of events such as dust storms, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes.

Explaining how satellite imagery is gathered and used to explore the Earth, this relevant, fascinating, and thought-provoking presentation is accompanied by Johnston’s acclaimed book Earth from Space (Firefly, revised ed., 2007) and a Magic Planet interactive globe. This educational exhibition also includes an interactive website that allows visitors to zoom in on various satellite images.

The exhibition was made possible by Global Imagination with additional support from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

What are host museums saying about Earth from Space?

The Earth from Space exhibit has really been a boon for the History Center. We normally have about 400 visitors a month in the summer. In July we had over 1,000 people here to see the exhibit. It really has been wonderful!
—Cannon Beach Historical Society, Oregon


Exhibition Specifications


41 freestanding units and 1 digital video globe


Companion book, brochure, educational and promotional resources

Participation Fee

$2,500 for 8-week booking period


210 running feet



Weight 1,364 lbs.
Category Science
Security Moderate
Shipping Outgoing; host museum arranges shipping and pays carrier directly
SITES Contacts

Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142 (Scheduling)

Tour Through September 2012

Tour Itinerary

Dates   Host Institution Status
11/11/06 01/07/07 Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Washington, DC Booked
01/27/07 03/25/07 Georgia Highlands College, Rome, GA Booked
04/14/07 06/10/07 Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton, VA Booked
06/30/07 08/26/07 Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History, Las Vegas, NV Booked
09/15/07 11/11/07 Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas, TX Booked
12/01/07 01/27/08 Folsom Library, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY Booked
02/16/08 06/29/08 University Museum, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA Booked
07/19/08 09/14/08 Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL Booked
10/04/08 11/30/08 Spartanburg County Public Library, Spartanburg, SC Booked
12/20/08 02/15/09 Kingsport Public Library, Kingsport, TN Booked
03/07/09 05/03/09 California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA Booked
05/23/09 07/19/09 Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, NE Booked
08/08/09 10/04/09 Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Atlanta, GA Booked
10/24/09 12/20/09 Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library, University of NebraskaOmaha, NE Booked
01/09/10 03/07/10 Neville Public Museum of Brown County, Green Bay, WI Booked
Tour Extension  
06/12/10 08/08/10 Stamford Museum and Nature Center, Stamford, CT Booked
08/28/10 10/24/10 Museum of the Gulf Coast, Port Arthur, TX Booked
11/13/10 01/09/11 Kirby Science Discovery Center, Sioux Falls, SD Booked
01/29/11 03/27/11 Brigham City Museum-Gallery, Brigham City, UT
04/16/11 06/12/11 World Forestry Center, Portland, OR Booked
07/02/11 08/28/11 Cannon Beach History Center and Museum, Cannon Beach, OR Booked
09/17/11 11/27/11 Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich, VT Booked
01/14/12 03/11/12 Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN Booked
06/16/12 09/03/12 Delaware Museum of Natural History, Wilmington, DE Booked

Related Publications

Earth from Space by Andrew K. Johnston, Firefly Books, 2004.
Hard Cover; $31.47

Curator Andrew Johnston sheds light on the planet via an array of beautiful and enlightening satellite images. The book explains in exquisite detail how such images are utilized by scientists to learn about the earth's dynamic environment. The Washington Post named this text one of the best coffee table books of 2004.


Your Guide to Earth from Space: Activity Guide, 2006. FREE!

This activity booklet encourages young and old alike to look more closely at the spectacular satellite imagery found in the exhibition. The guide folds out to reveal an eye-catching poster. Visit the traveling exhibition for
your free version or download a .pdf version!

>> Download the Earth from Space activity guide


Press Release


Media only: Jennifer Schommer (202) 633-3121
Peter Golkin: (202) 633-2374

Public only: (202) 633-1000

View the Earth from Above in New Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum

Each day, high above the clouds, dozens of sophisticated imaging satellites circle the earth. These high-tech machines are capable of capturing extraordinary conditions and events that are nearly impossible to document from the surface of the planet. These remarkable images, which reveal the awesome beauty of the planet’s surface through the “eyes” of a space satellite, are on display in a new Smithsonian traveling exhibition.

“Earth from Space” opens at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11 and will remain on view through Jan. 7, 2007. The exhibition will then continue its national tour through 2009.

Featuring 40 beautifully detailed satellite images of the planet from the swirling arms of a massive hurricane and the grid-like pattern of Kansas farmland to the triangular shadows cast by the Great Pyramids and the sinuous channels entering the Arctic Ocean, “Earth From Space” illustrates how satellite imagery is gathered and used to expand mankind’s understanding of life on Earth . It also explores the remote sensing technology used to gather the images and discusses the individual satellites whose images are on display.

A Magic Planet digital video globe—a digital display with a sphere-shaped screen complements the traveling exhibition. The animations on this tool will allow visitors to observe the global extent of images returned from orbiting satellites.

An educational companion Web site——contains an online version of the exhibition, as well as additional images and information. It also provides numerous educational resources, including lesson plans, classroom activities, Web site links and available publications.

“Earth from Space,” developed by the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Andrew Johnston, a geographer at the National Air and Space Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies and author of “Earth from Space” (Firefly Books, 2004), is the exhibition’s curator.

The exhibition is made possible by Global Imagination. Additional support is provided by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Women's Committee.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum maintains the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world, is a vital center for research into the history, science and technology of aviation and space flight, and commemorates the development of aviation and spaceflight. The Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, a scientific research unit within the museum, performs original research and outreach activities on topics covering planetary science, terrestrial geophysics and the remote sensing of environmental change.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at



Exhibition Specifications

Tour Itinerary

Exhibition Images

Exhibition Prospectus

Related Publications

Press Release

In the News

Interactive Website

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