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Gweneth Mclittle
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2 years ago no Comment

Hi All, this one speaks loudest from it’s images. It’s fairly simple to make, does anyone out there already have a template for this style of box? We should start a section dedicated templates for folded goods. The wee thing was only about 12″ tall by 6″ square. Notice how the lid folds over on itself, that’s key for holding some of this together. Once the lid comes off the front is made up of one continuous flap with a couple mini flaps that create closed corners when folded. When the long continuous flap come down the foam pieces can be carefully and better yet, easily pulled out. We place the foam pieces in reverse order as they came out so it’s easy to put them back the back the same way. In this case it would be hard to replace the foam  in the wrong way; they were marked pretty well. That’s it. I would recommend making this box to anyone. What types of boxes do you make and why?

Science Museum Tips: On Producing Exhibits in a Developing Country
2 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine ON PRODUCING EXHIBITS IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY There is a widespread movement in many developing countries in the last decade to promote scientific knowledge among the general public through science centers and museums. Interactive exhibits require special characteristics in developing countries. Because resources are very limited, exhibits should be produced at the lowest costs, with maximum durability to avoid high rates of exhibits depreciation. Strict safety precautions must be applied, as children in developing countries are not used to science centers and may use exhibits in unexpected ways. The Planetarium Science Center, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt, represents an example of a science center that has a good level of exhibit design and fabrication skills and has overcome tight financial resources. Over the past 10 years, our main concern has been to build a qualified team in the field of design and fabrication of interactive exhibits. This team is aware of community concerns, interests, formal science curricula, and the needed pedagogical approach to maximize the visitors’ benefit from the exhibits and accompanying activities. To acquire hands-on exhibit design and fabrication production skills and experience, several training sessions were held in collaboration with international professional corporations. Doing the design and fabrication processes in house using local materials may be 10% of the cost of buying the end product directly. Also, we seek partners to co-design and fabricate exhibitions rather than renting high-cost exhibitions. Our exhibition quality is getting closer to international standards through experience and avoiding repeating errors. Reem Sabry, head of the Design and Fabrication Section, Planetarium Science Center, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt

Science Museum Tips: On Planning Traveling Exhibitions
2 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine ON PLANNING TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS When designing an exhibition, it’s wise to take into consideration from day one whether or not it will be traveling, particularly internationally. Making sure an exhibition can be installed and dismantled easily, allowing flexibility for low doors and ceilings, keeping the number of trucks or shipping containers low, knowing the type of electricity technological components will require, and being mindful of the manpower and maintenance the exhibition needs are all paramount to its long-term success on the road. Additionally, once an exhibition is on the road, working with global partners to create strategic tour routes in particular regions can benefit everyone by saving money as well as wear and tear. An exhibition designed with these things in mind from the beginning stands a far better chance of being enjoyed all around the globe for many years! Tom Zaller, president and CEO, Imagine Exhibitions, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

2 years ago no Comment
2 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine ON DESIGNING INTERACTIVE EXHIBITS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN When you design an exhibit for young children, you should not limit yourself to just downsizing all the components and adding a wild palette of colors. You have to start thinking like a child. It may not be possible to go back in time, but this simple set of rules will help you develop your ideas: Rule #1: “The floor is everywhere my foot can reach.” An adult mind has a mental barrier that prevents one from walking on a surface located higher than a foot and a half (half a meter) above the ground. Adults will see this surface as either a seat or a decoration. Toddlers, however, do not possess this kind of constraint. Use as much durable and anti-skidding materials as possible, and watch the height. Rule #2: It is never too low. For adults, everything has to be within reach, and bending and crouching is tiring for us. It is totally the opposite with kids. For them, standing on tiptoes, lying on the floor, or reaching for something inaccessible is simply a lot of fun. Sometimes designers need to leave the rules behind to make an exhibit more enjoyable for children. Rule #3: Kids are omnidirectional. An adult focuses on a single experience, while a child participates in the entire environment with all senses. While playing in one place, the child constantly listens to sounds coming from all around and can analyze multiple strands of information. This gives us the opportunity to create complex spaces. Karolina Perrin, designer, Karek Design, Krakow, Poland Photo by [email protected]

3 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine ON PARTNERING WITH RESEARCHERS Increasingly, as many science centers move from presenting just basic science to including more topical and contemporary science, one challenge faced by many centers is in the research and development of exhibition content. Interesting and contemporary topics like nanotechnology, climate change, viruses, and even the Large Hadron Collider can engage the public but require some explaining. The Science Centre Singapore has found that working with suitable partners can be a tremendous help in the development of a good exhibition. The partners in question are research scientists from universities as well as research institutions. For example, in our Earth, Our Untamed Planet exhibition, we collaborated with the Earth Observatory Singapore and were able to tap the expertise of some of the world’s leading Earth scientists to develop an exhibition that brought the topic to life while presenting some of the latest thinking in the field, as well as many local and regional examples. This has resulted in an exhibition that not only engages the public, but also is a valuable resource to science and even geography teachers. The key to effective collaboration is to find a partner that shares similar objectives related to the promotion of science. Very often, many research institutions have a mandatory public outreach component tied to their research funding. When they collaborate with a local science center, research institutions benefit by fulfilling their public outreach missions and leaving the development of public programs to the expertise of the science center. Science centers benefit by tapping the expertise of research scientists at the leading edge of that field of study. In order to maintain such collaborations, we actively visit and maintain ongoing relationships with all the universities and many research institutions in the country. Such visits, discussions, and sharing of ideas often result in new exhibition ideas and opportunities for funding. Jyotika Thukral, senior communications officer, Science Centre Singapore

3 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine ON WRITING EXHIBIT TEXT TO FACILITATE FAMILY LEARNING One of the functions of the museum is to provide visitors with stories told by each object. The object itself often attracts visitors, while the texts that tell its story are completely ignored. For museum professionals, writing good texts that visitors would love to read is always a big challenge. In our museum, the “parent-child social context” is often key. In a typical scenario in our galleries, children who are interested in an exhibited object are likely to ask their parents, “Mom/Dad, what’s this?” This question often troubles the parent, and he/she replies like this: “Something . . . something very old,” trying to avoid the question. But if parents could easily find relevant text, they would be happy to read it for their curious children. I suggest utilizing two different types of text to help the visitors understand the exhibitions: short text and longer text. The short and simple text’s role is to attract parents’ attention immediately. And it helps them think like this: “This text seems to help me in answering my kid’s troubling question.” It then leads them to read the longer text. The body of the text (longer text) usually explains what kind of story the specimen has. In this type of text, we often use a dialogue (question-and-answer) format. When the parents find the dialogue text, they can make use of it and read the answer part for their kids. In other words, the parents can take the role of the characters in the dialogue, and at the same time, they are able to answer their kids’ questions. You can let your museum characters appear and talk in this type of dialogue. It will make it more fun and easier to understand. Assisted by this parent-child social context, we have successfully conveyed what we want both kids and parents to know about the specimens. In this model, there are two important ideas. First, learning something from parents is often more efficient for children than learning it from someone else, because the parents know their kids’ learning levels and how much experience they have had so far. Second, a museum experience like the one above can provide a good learning opportunity not only for kids, but also for parents. We believe that “texts” may work effectively in learning at museums when they better fit the needs originated from a parent-child social context. Junko Anso, former curator, Fukui City Museum of Natural History, Japan

3 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine ON THE PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING AN IN-HOUSE EXHIBITION Science World British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, created a new music exhibition, AMPED, in house and with unprecedented support from the local community. With so many parameters to explore, the challenge was to develop a cohesive focus that maximized the visitor experience without creating prohibitive costs. We hope the guidelines below will help you develop your own amazing in-house exhibition. Once your executive team approves the project concept, develop a creative brief that outlines your broad objectives, budget, schedule, and success criteria. Research exhibit content relevant to your target audience. For AMPED, we consulted the local music community, reviewed academic literature, and researched music-related equipment. Your research should yield a variety of stories that could be presented to the public. Select the best stories that would make unique, engaging, and easy to use, yet feasible, interactive experiences. For AMPED, the theme became the story of technology and popular music. Place those stories in a storyline, explaining the content/experience and the best way to convey each story (e.g. interaction, infographic, programming, web link, tablet app, etc.) AMPED required large infographics to relay complex content. Create an Exhibit Concept Document for each interactive experience, detailing content, objectives, visitor experience, possible equipment, and possible pitfalls. We saw loopers as a key experience in the AMPED exhibition and dedicated a considerable amount of time developing a quick way for visitors to learn how to create music loops. You are now ready to create your prototype and evaluate the experience with test groups. We set up AMPED exhibits near our main entrance and encouraged the public to try out the equipment. We found this feedback to be extremely useful. Creating your own exhibition in house can be quite overwhelming, but it can also be very rewarding. Don’t be too quick to pick up your hammer or paintbrush. Careful development and planning can ultimately save you time (during the crunch), resources, and frustration. Jason Bosher, communications coordinator, Science World British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

3 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine MORE ON NAMING AN EXHIBITION Naming is one the most difficult steps in the process of creating an exhibition, especially because it is for a “lifetime.” It’s like choosing a name for a child—it involves many ideas and many more advisors. So let me be one of them. In September 2013, we opened the EXPERYMENT Science Centre in Gdynia, Poland, in a new facility. We had six years of history and experience, so the general rules of naming exhibitions were well known to us. Science center experts always say, “Don’t use a school subject as a name for your exhibition.” I can agree with this advice—words like “physics” or “mathematics” can be boring and scary, as associated with a school environment. But honestly speaking, in our former exhibition we had such names, and it was amazing when a child said “I had a great time in Physics today.” So how can we choose exhibition names that encourage guests to visit our science center? After many brainstorming meetings, discussions, quarrels, and fights we finally did it. New names of exhibitions in our new premises are HYDROWORLD, THE TREE OF LIFE, OPERATION: HUMAN, and INVISIBLE FORCES. Beautiful, aren’t they? To us, they are. But before we invented our wonderful new names, we used some working names for a long time. They stuck in our heads. What could we do to forget about them? Repetition of the new names was the only solution. Happily, we had a big opening ceremony and huge media interest. We had to describe EXPERYMENT Science Centre and its new galleries so many times. Repeating and repeating has helped us to remember and get used to the new names. Moreover, we had one more motivation to remember them: a huge number of new colleagues. In order to have good team communication, we had to use the new names so as not to confuse our team members. So dear moms and dads of news exhibitions! The most important piece of advice is: Always try to have a final name as fast as you can. Otherwise it will be difficult to give up the previous, working name. The name of an exhibition should be short and appealing for public relations materials. It should not be too serious, but it should be intriguing. Also, check out what your name means in some foreign languages—otherwise there is a chance of unintentionally amusing tourists from around the world. And last but not least, don’t ask too many advisors. You know best how to name your child. Good luck! Ewa Jasinska, director, EXPERYMENT Science Centre, Gdynia, Poland Photo by Steve Parker

3 years ago no Comment

EXHIBIT TIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine ON COLLABORATING SUCCESSFULLY WITH CLIENTS AND PARTNERS Having worked for 10 years in museum education, I am familiar with the high level of collaboration between organizations needed to create meaningful exhibits and partnerships. However, now that I have transitioned to exhibit development, I find it’s rare to hear anyone speak about how hard it is to collaborate on large projects with multiple contributors. Here are a few significant tips that have helped me develop great communication lines with clients and partner organizations, and make collaboration less of a chore and more of a joy: Go in with a detailed work plan and timeline. Make it clear who is responsible for each piece of development and design, and communicate prior to deadlines rather than after they have been missed. Create a template for receiving feedback, rather than tracking changes within a document. It leads to more articulate communication about the content, narrative, and design decisions. Organizations and consultants always have multiple projects and deadlines, many having nothing to do with the project at hand. Appreciate shifting schedules and other milestones that help your partners achieve their goals, without letting the collaboration suffer. I have been working with Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership and Paul Orselli Workshop (POW!) to assist the America for Bulgaria Foundation in developing Muzeiko, the first children’s museum in Bulgaria. We, as a team, adopted these strategies to overcome language and cultural barriers and create what continues to be a conscientious, successful partnership. Christina Joy Ferwerda, independent consultant, New York City

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