State Museum Takes Guests on a Mission to Mars with New Planetarium Show

COLUMBIA, S.C., September 29, 2021 – The South Carolina State Museum is set to welcome the Fall season with a variety of new and returning shows, plus a newly opened exhibition. Guests are invited travel to Mars, learn about Earth’s diverse habitats, race to escape Dracula in 4D, and explore how the museum builds and maintains its vast collection of objects.

“We are excited to share these new experiences with our guests and members,” said State Museum Executive Director, Amy Bartow-Melia. “Our new exhibition, Show and Tell, and October shows are the perfect activity for both adults and children this Fall. Plus, our planetarium will once again transform into a giant jack-o-lantern throughout the month thanks to our partners at Ambient Media.”

Debuting Sat., Oct. 2, MARS 1001, takes viewers away from planet Earth, into space, and across our solar system to our neighboring planet, Mars. The full dome show follows the fictional story of the Mars IRIS 1 mission, a daring 1001-day voyage to fly an international crew to the planet and return them safely to Earth. The crew faces a few dangers along the way, including a solar coronal mass ejection that threatens their safety. And, once on Mars, viewers will see the team work on the planet’s surface, exploring the landscape, looking for water, and retrieving rocks in a search for the history of water.

MARS 1001 is a visually beautiful show that brings the reality of Mars exploration to audiences. It’s set just far enough in the future to seem real and tells a story we all hope to see and hear in our lifetimes: a trip to the Red Planet.

The museum also just opened the exhibition, Show and Tell: Recent Acquisitions at the State Museum, which is presented in English and Spanish. The display explores how the museum selects objects to add to the collection and goes behind-the-scenes to share how staff cares and maintains for a diverse collection that includes everything from fossils to modern artwork, historical items and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to see recently acquired objects that are now on display for the first time.

Health and safety precautions are in place, including managing capacities in the museum’s galleries, planetarium and 4-D theater. Per City of Columbia Emergency Ordinance, face coverings will be required for guests aged 5 and above.

Featured October Shows (visit for a full schedule of showtimes):

Dracula 4D – NEW!, Showing Daily from Oct. 2 – 31st: Guests are invited on a frightful NEW adventure in 4D! While on holiday in Transylvania, teenager Kevin and his bumbling Dad accidentally awaken the undead vampire Dracula. Follow their escape in this immersive show featuring seat movement and more.

HalloScream Laser Lights, Showing Daily from Oct. 2 – 31st: Guests will experience a dynamic laser show choreographed to classic Halloween tunes like Thriller, Monster Mash, and Ghostbusters in the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Planetarium.

Habitat Earth, Now Showing: This new planetarium experience is narrated by Frances McDormand and takes viewers on an incredible, immersive journey through the interconnectedness of life on Earth. Plunge below the ocean’s surface to explore the dynamic relationships found in deep ocean ecosystems; dig beneath the forest floor to see how Earth’s tallest trees rely on tiny fungi to survive; and soar to new heights to witness the intricate intersection between human and ecological networks.

Exhibition entrance is covered by museum membership or general admission, which is $8.95 for adults, $7.95 for Seniors and $6.95 for children (ages 3-12). Planetarium experiences and 4-D shows are an additional charge. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and is closed on Monday. Due to the museum’s need to manage guest and theater capacity, online advance ticket purchase is recommended at

About the South Carolina State Museum: As the state’s largest and most comprehensive museum, the South Carolina State Museum, offers a unique, entertaining and educational experience to visitors throughout its 225,000 square foot facility located in the heart of downtown Columbia’s Congaree Vista. The State Museum is housed in one of its greatest artifacts, an 1894 old textile mill full of character and charm. In addition to beautiful meeting spaces throughout the facility, guests can explore outer space in one of the largest planetariums in the Southeast, watch an interactive 4D movie and look through a vintage telescope in a one-of-a-kind observatory. These exciting opportunities are all in addition to the four floors of South Carolina art, cultural history, natural history and science/technology that guests can experience. For more information about the museum, visit

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