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Observatory to Unveil New Weather Discovery Center Exhibits on Saturday

*** More than $50,000 invested in new exhibits, including $25,000 from the Ham Foundation ***

NORTH CONWAY – December 11, 2007 - Through successfully meeting a challenge set forth by the Kendal C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation, Mount Washington Observatory's Weather Discovery Center will unveil two new exhibits on Saturday. The Ham Foundation's generous $25,000 challenge grant got the ball rolling in late 2006, and the Observatory was able to match that gift through donations and grants from individuals and other charitable foundations.

Most notably, the Connie Davis Watson Foundation granted the Observatory a gift of $10,000 in support of the Observatory's exhibit improvements for the non-profit organization's hands-on science and weather museum in North Conway Village. $5,000 in financial support was given by the Cogswell Benevolent Trust and more than $11,000 was raised at a special Observatory fundraiser at the Portland Museum of Art. The balance of the $25,000 match was raised through numerous charitable gifts, including gifts from Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, Abbott's Premium Ice Cream, Northway Bank and the Conway Daily Sun.

A short ceremony to recognize donors and introduce visitors to the new exhibits will take place on Saturday at 11 AM.

"While the Weather Discovery Center moved locations back in 2003, our collection of exhibits has essentially remained the same," says Scot Henley, Executive Director of the Mount Washington Observatory. "In order to stay on top of current technology and continue offering a high quality educational experience, we have committed to improving our exhibits over the next three years."

Two exhibits, developed over several months and installed over the last two weeks, will be unveiled on Saturday. One includes a focus on seasonal weather on Mount Washington, including video segments highlighting particular features of the mountain environment through the year. A large, three-dimensional, hands-on relief map of Mount Washington will be a keystone of this exhibit, incorporating LED technology to identify special features of interest. The exhibit will also display mannequins with typical summer and winter hiking gear, with interpretive panels based on New Hampshire's "hikeSafe" outdoor safety program, underscoring the need for visitors to be suitably prepared for the sometimes infamous White Mountains weather.

The other new exhibit will feature the tools and techniques used to measure weather, just as mountaintop weather observers utilize to document the extreme conditions found at the legendary weather station atop Mount Washington.

"These exhibits will further connect visitors to Mount Washington and its unique weather and environment," says Peter Crane, Mount Washington Observatory's Director of Programs. "Hands-on, interactive learning is such a key part of what we offer at the Weather Discovery Center, and the new exhibits will follow that model. Future exhibits that will be developed over the next few years will also engage and educate our visitors in the same fashion."

The Weather Discovery Center welcomes over 15,000 people each year and offers a number of exhibits relating to wind, weather and Mount Washington. Combined with the Mount Washington Museum on the summit of the northeast's tallest peak, the Observatory's educational programs on and off the mountain and the organization's active outreach efforts, more than 60,000 people benefit from the Observatory's educational programming each year.

Mount Washington Observatory’s Weather Discovery Center is located adjacent to Citizens Bank in North Conway Village and is open daily 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is free.

Mount Washington Observatory is a private, non-profit, member-supported organization with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been monitoring the elements in one of the most extreme locations on Earth, using this unique site for scientific research and educational outreach. For more information and to learn about the many benefits of membership, visit MountWashington.org.

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