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Baylor > Home > Exhibits > Archive Exhibits > From Sea to Shining Sea: 200 Years of America's Coast Survey Exhibit

From Sea to Shining Sea: 200 Years of America's Coast Survey Exhibit

Alexander Bache
Alexander Bache
Courtesy NOAA
Worried about getting lost on your first sail of the summer? Concerned about nautical hazards or running aground? Thanks to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's nautical charts, real-time tides and current information, GPS data and other navigation services, mariners can safely cross U.S. coastal waters.

In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson recognized the need to chart the coastal waters of this country as vital to the independence and prosperity of the economy and to the security of this fledgling Nation. Jefferson compelled Congress to pass an act establishing the Survey of the Coast, a predecessor agency of today's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the nation's first scientific agency. The Survey of the Coast charted the nation's ports and waterways, researched physical characteristics of the ocean bottom and explored many of the world's oceans. The organization was known for a tradition of perseverance, scientific integrity, engraving and charting skills, and courage.

Golden Gate Bridge with Crane
Golden Gate Bridge with Crane
Courtesy 111th Aerial
Photography Squadron
In recognition of this landmark 200th anniversary, NOAA and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) have created the exhibit, "From Sea to Shining Sea: 200 Years of Charting America's Coasts," and will be on display through September 18, 2007.

The 20 colorful posters are illustrated with photos, charts and artwork from the Survey's archives.

"This year we are proud to be holding a year long celebration of 200 years of science, service, and stewardship to the nation with its roots in the Survey of the Coast," said Captain Steven R. Barnum, Director of NOAA Office of Coast Survey, which is one of the four offices that continues to carry out the original agency's mission. "We are honored that our partnership with the Smithsonian Institution has produced this vibrant depiction of our history to help us commemorate this distinguished occasion."

Katrina Aftermath
Katrina Aftermath
Courtesy NOAA
Two hundred years later, waterborne commerce remains the backbone of the U.S. economy, contributing more than 13 million jobs and $1 trillion annually. In the past two centuries, the Survey has mapped more than 95,000 miles of coastline, produced more than 20,000 nautical maps and charts, installed more than 6,000 tide stations, helped predict the movement of oil spills, established the Pacific Tsunami Warning System and maintained the national network of more than 1,000 GPS reference sites. Though the methods have changed throughout time, Jefferson's legacy lives on in NOAA's navigation services as they continue to benefit safety, national security and economic competitiveness.

Strawberry Harbor
Strawberry Harbor
Courtesy Burke Museum of
Natural History and Culture
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects. "From Sea from Sea to Shining Sea" is part of a series of anniversary events sponsored by NOAA. For more information, visit and

Taking Measurements
Surveyors Taking Measurements
Courtesy NOAA
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

From Sea to Shining Sea: 200 Years of Charting America's Coasts is courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Smithsonian Institution.

Admission to the exhibit is included with your entry fee!

For more information, please call 254-710-1110.

Remember to bring your camera and make memories of this fun time with your family!

Click here to download this event to your calendar.

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