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the biosphere

re-envisioning the invertebrate lab

TEAM MEMBERS

ADVISORS

Nick Abele Daniel Chow Allison Lenz Jeffrey Stoebe

Mark Baskinger Stacie Rohrbach SENIOR PROJECT

Spring 2012 Carnegie Museum of Natural History


CHALLENGE

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Overview The Invertebrate Lab Project Brief

RESEARCH

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Approach Considerations & Constraints Competitive Analysis

STRATEGY

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Design Opportunities Project Vision Scheduling

DESIGN CRITERIA Space Content Narrative Interactables Visitors

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PROCESS

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Initial Ideas Initial Scenarios Defining a Theme Concept Sketches Developing a Narrative User Testing & Analysis Refining Concepts Profiling Visitors Mapping Out the Space

FINAL CONCEPT

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System Overview Narrative Structure Designed Components Visual Language Specifications

RECOMMENDATIONS

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Production Phases Business Plan Sustainability & Maintenance Imagined Scenarios

REFLECTIONS

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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS


CHALLENGE

Overview Carnegie Museum of Natural History The Carnegie Museum of Natural History documents the history of life on Earth by collecting and caring for specimens and artifacts. Through field studies and collections-based research, the museum generates new knowledge, which it shares through a variety of exhibitions, programs, and educational partnerships. The museum aims to enhance scientific literacy by illuminating the the processes of evolution and adaptation that have shaped the diversity of our world and its inhabitants. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History also seeks to redefine what it means to be a natural history museum in the 21st century through its five interdisciplinary centers. The Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems (CBE) engages scientists on understanding, managing, and sustaining the health of local and global ecosystems. The Center also wishes to engage the public in advancing the global understanding of issues surrounding biodiversity and ecosystems—such as habitat loss, climate change, and threatened species—by participating in science learning and discovery.

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CHALLENGE

New Approaches to Hands-On Learning The current exhibit occupying the Simmons Gallery called “M is for Museum” is a new step for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Designed for kids 5 to 13 years old, the exhibit focuses on helping curious young visitors discover how museums protect, explore, and explain the cultures of the world and wonders of nature. Featuring multimedia and hands-on activities, “M is for Museum” breaks the boundaries of traditional, behind-glass museum exhibits. From videos to microscopes, from touching real animal pelts to putting post-its with questions on the wall, the exhibit presents information in more engaging ways and utilizes heightened amounts of sensory learning. However, the space itself still retains the sterile feeling of a museum exhibit with the glass cases, pristine dark wood furniture, and ever-present, ever-verbose wall placards. What the space lacks is character, the human quality of being well-worn and lived in.

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CHALLENGE

left: Nick uses a magnifying glass to examine the artifacts in the case behind glass. right: Visitors can post thoughts and questions on the wall in response to the displayed fossils.

left: Nick plays the “can you guess that smell?� game, one of the many sensory learning stations. right: Allison peers through a printed GigaPan wall that affords visitors the chance to examine the contents of the image up close and from a distance at high resolution.

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CHALLENGE

The Invertebrate Lab The Invertebrate Lab, formerly home to the Mollusk department, is undergoing renovations to become part of the greater natural history museum. This new space is an opportunity to provide a physical place to house the CBE, its findings, and its educational programs. The inherent character of the space provides visitors with a homely behind-the-scenes atmosphere: worn hardwood floors, old wooden specimen drawers, an open area with large windows, and narrow alcoves between stacks. Nevertheless, the location of the Invertebrate Lab within CMNH poses two challenges: raising visitors’ awareness of space and setting up visitors’ expectations for the space. We have the opportunity to bridge the gap between the uniqueness of the space and the rest of the museum.

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CHALLENGE

left: Upon entering the space, you immediately see a staircase and four large wooden stacks. right: From the second level you can look out over an open area, flooded with daylight from the three large windows.

left: Further in to the room are three long narrow rows of stacks with thousands of drawers for specimens. right: The open space has room for many tables, chairs, and bookshelves.

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CHALLENGE

Project Brief Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) has been a hub for some of the best and brightest scientists in the world for more than 114 years. Today, CMNH scientists are working to increase knowledge of life on Earth through the study and collection of specimens reflecting our planet’s biological, cultural, and geological diversity. While CMNH scientists are highly regarded and renowned in their own fields, the Pittsburgh public is not aware of the cutting edge research that is happening in their local community. CMNH recognizes that they need to better communicate their current scientific activities to the public in order to bridge the gap between what is happening behind the scenes at the Museum and what the public sees and experiences when they visit, attend a program, or go to the CMNH website. CMNH is particularly interested in targeting college-aged visitors, helping them understand the richness of the Museum research programs and their connection to our planet’s biological, cultural, and geological diversity.

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Our task is to re-envision and design for a new interactive, dynamic space, where visitors can interact with the museum’s resources, experts, and information in new ways. The reenvisioned Invertebrate Lab should serve as the center for bug learning, discovery, and engagement at CMNH.


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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS


RESEARCH

Approach Our group is designing an entirely new, undefined space and experience that has never been a part of the public museum footprint. We began our research by evaluating the affordances and constraints of the Invertebrate Lab space. We visited other museums to look for ways to incorporate new types of interactions and presentation of information. We evaluated them for their presentation, interactions, and learning models.

left: Historic specimen drawers fill the Invertebrate Lab.

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RESEARCH

Considerations & Constraints What makes our space and story unique? The Invertebrate Lab has a rich history dating back to the museum’s establishment 1895. The current mollusk collection housed in the room is stored in 58 handsome, built-in wood and glass cases, 56 of which have triple columns of glass-topped drawers, the two other cases having full case-width drawers. There are a total of 3,592 drawers in the room with a steel grate mezzanine providing access to the upper level of cases. This mezzanine also provides a general view out over the work spaces below. Our challenge as a design team is to preserve and celebrate the history of the physical space while introducing and promoting new concepts of discovery and expanded learning about biodiversity.

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RESEARCH

Space Our vision for the Invertebrate Lab is unique to the museum, in that this space will function less like an exhibit and more like a destination within the museum. The Invertebrate Lab is located in the midst of permanent and temporary exhibits away from the entrance to the museum. By viewing the exhibits leading up to the space, visitors are prepared with the content and experiences they need in order to build off of their newly acquired knowledge on natural history. The space can therefore seek to challenge visitors in new way to take ownership of their learning experiences. However, the location of the room in the museum poses challenges in the navigation to and awareness of the space.

left: Mapping the path to the Inverabrate Lab below left: Bug cases in the experimental gallery below right: One of the many staircases to the upper levels of the museum

Other historical rooms in the museum, like the Holland Room, focus on a single department of study such as Entomology. With the new Invertebrate Lab space, a variety of content can be made available to visitors, allowing them to make comparisons and connections across content. Essential to the narrative and visitor-content interaction in the space is the freedom to determine one’s own learning path. Rather than functioning like a behind-the-scenes tour, our space provides the opportunity for self-directed exploration and discovery with real specimens from the natural history collections.

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RESEARCH

Audience Because the space will be a place where visitors of all backgrounds and levels of expertise can apply the knowledge they have attained in the other areas of the museum, the design of the space should set a tone of sophistication and respect for the research being conducted in the space by both visitors and scientists alike. The challenge therein remains presenting information in a way that caters to all visitors without marginalizing the experts through overly simplified concepts. Of the museum visitors, college students are one of the most challenging age groups for museums to cater to. By aiming to make a space that appeals to the younger crowd while maintaining a sense of authenticity and sophistication, our group seeks to appeal to an audience that takes an interest in furthering its own knowledge by participating in meaningful activity.

above left: Chen Young collecting specimens in Hispaniola. Image Source: carnegiemnh.org above right: Adults and families walk through the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History left: Girl scouts visiting the Carnegie Museum of Natural History with their troop. Image Source: http://web.cmoa.org/grouptours/groups/

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RESEARCH

Technology Given the rich history of the space and its well-worn, nostalgic character, the use of technology in the space must be very carefully considered. Technology has the potential to distract or detract from the comfortable, conversational atmosphere within the space by adding extra barriers, like touch screens or kiosks, between the visitor and the information; therefore, the use of digital media is limited to outside the space and only in select areas within the room itself. Technology should only be used for particular types of information and interactions that are truly enhanced and improved by the digital experience. Through GigaPan technology, visitors have access to imagery of current research being conducted outside the walls of CMNH that they would otherwise not have available to them.

top: Touchscreen in the Smithsonian Museum of American History that allows visitors to flip through and zoom in on scanned pages of Jefferson’s bible bottom: Kiosk in the “America on the Move” exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of American History that allows visitors to role play a journey during the Gold Rush

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RESEARCH

Competitive Analysis Our group conducted a competitive analysis of other museums and libraries. We conducted observations, documented through photos, videos, and notes, on three key elements: presentation, interaction, learning. Assessing the effectiveness of display presentation, interactions, and learning models at various institutions enabled us to make more informed decisions about the presentation of information in our space.

left: The “More Than Meets the Eye� special exhibit on the first floor of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History runs from July 23, 2011 to November 4, 2012. The exhibit revolves around questions posed to visitors.

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RESEARCH

Presentation Museums present their content in various ways, some more engaging and clear than others. The following examples display a range of presentation styles, from traditional behind-glass exhibit cases to multimedia components integrated into expansive wall collages. Which presentation elements actively involve visitors’ thoughts and curiosity while communicating scientific information that is understandable and, more importantly, relatable?

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: Ocean Hall highlights the diversity of ocean life through impressive, large scale exhibit cases. Each case module is capped on both ends with a sign that briefly summarizes the information within. The built-in redundancy allows visitors to wander through the hall as they wish without missing any vital information. Additionally, the exhibit intentionally uses questions throughout the space, creating a style of language that is more approachable and engaging to visitors.

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RESEARCH

Smithsonian Museum of American History: “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibit takes advantage of depth of field by displaying information, images, and videos in a wall collage that starts to create a natural hierarchy. The strong visuals are positioned at normal viewing height with subordinate text information on small placards placed below the traditional line of vision. Rather than the wall saying “look at everything; it’s all important!” the layout emphasizes the historical photographs, footage, and artifacts without the interference of text; though, the visitors, who wish to learn more, can read the text blurbs on the accompanying placards.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History: The bug cases showcase a variety of different bug specimens with text descriptions. The cases each seek to inform the public on various topics like local Pennsylvania species, the colors of butterflies, the differences between moths and butterflies, etc. The information about the bugs is presented in a very text-heavy fashion with little to no explanatory diagrams. The glass acts a barrier, causing many visitors to look only at the specimens and neglect the written content.

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RESEARCH

Interaction Interactions can take place in both physical and digital spaces to communicate multiple levels of information. Museums incorporate various modes of interaction— person to information, person to space, and person to person—to engage visitors in different ways. By conducting observations and listening to visitors conversations, we were able to observe how many people were able to participate in the interaction at any given time as well as whether the interaction communicated the information effectively.

Smithsonian American History Museum: Touchscreens are useful to display a large amount of content in one space, but are often limited for use by one person at a time. The display shown asks visitors to take a stance on controversial issues. Presented with a question, visitors may respond with one of two answers by rotating the interactable response. More than one person can interact with this display at a time and encourages group visitors, e.g. friends, couples, and families, to converse before making a decision.

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RESEARCH

Smithsonian Natural History Museum: A knowledgeable docent at the Bug Zoo talks about the bugs, answers visitors’ questions about bugs, bug research, and life as a scientist, and allows visitors to touch the bugs. This portion of the exhibit not only draws the most visitors at a time, but also retains them for longer periods of time. Â

Science Center: The Science Center offers many interactive stations where visitors can experiment with physical objects while reenacting important scientific principles. However, often times, the interactions fail to communicate the importance of the activities. The Science Center relies on ineffective, textheavy signage to explain the meaning behind the activities at each station.

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RESEARCH

Learning Learning happens in four different stages—Why? What? How? If ?—according to Bernice McCarthy, author of the book About Learning1. Learning can happen individually or in collaboration with other. Key to the learning cycle is to find meaning in the material and apply it to relevant situations, in other words, be able to answer the questions “Why is this of value to me?” and “How will I use this in my life?”. Different museums and exhibits achieve different levels of learning in their exhibits.

Science Center: The Science Center relies on videos, activities, and signage to educate visitors about scientific theories and practices; though, there is a disconnect between the textual information and the outcomes of an activity.

1

McCarthy, Bernice. About Learning. Wauconda, IL: About Learning, Inc., 2000.

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RESEARCH

Smithsonian: The American and Natural History Museums both employ the use of questions in their exhibit language and signage to facilitate learning; the questions act as entry points to the information and frame the purpose of the interactables in the exhibit.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, East Liberty: Libraries are the prime example of self-directed learning. Its structure functions as an archive, which visitors can explore according to their own interests and their own pace. Should visitors need assistance, librarians are available to point visitors in the right direction or expound upon a given topic. Librarians also serve the function of overseer; they ensure the visitors behave appropriately in the space. Image source: creativehomeidea.com

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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS


STRATEGY

Design Opportunities Drawing on our research findings, our group identified six main design opportunities: 1. Attract visitors by establishing consistent visual identity for the space

→→ to clearly communicate the location and purpose of the space

2. Connect visitors to the Invertebrate Lab space, Powdermill, and other outside research

→→ to involve visitors in the research conducted behind-the- scenes at CMNH

3. Provide meaningful explorations of the collection

→→ to convey the importance of biodiversity and the collections as a way to better understand the natural world and the human impact within it

4. Encourage visitors to interact with scientists

→→ to cultivate a sophisticated atmosphere filled with not only with the appeal of real specimens but also the liveliness and character of the scientists’ stories

5. Give visitors space to be curious

→→ to allow them to explore their own interests in ways that compliment their preferences and learning styles

6. Enable visitors to explore the collection on their own

→→ to provide a new museum experience to visitors that gives them ownership of their learning and an incentive to return on a regular basis

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Project Vision

Based on the needs of the Museum and the Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems, our vision is to provide the opportunity for visitors to engage more closely with natural history by designing an environment for visitors to make their own discoveries about biodiversity. This will be a place where nature enthusiasts and experts alike can bring their own findings to learn about them, and where visitors can connect with institutional research conducted in and outside the walls of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

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STRATEGY

Scheduling February

March

April

May

Project brief Research and ideation phase Present initial ideas to CMNH Pursue single idea and begin prototyping Spring break Present prototypes at “science fair� User testing phase Design refining phase Design documentation and specifications Carnival weekend Design pre-production phase Final design and production phase Final presentations

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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS


DESIGN CRITERIA

Design Criteria There are certain criteria we must fulfill to ensure that we design a viable space, communicate a compelling content narrative, incorporate appropriate interactions, and meet the needs of our audience. The design criteria, broken up into three levels of importance, correlate directly with the levels of learning and depth of the visitor experience. Primary criteria encompasses the objectives that must be met in order for the project to be deemed successful. Secondary criteria includes the objectives that should and could be met to enhance the final design concept; though, if not met, it would not mean that the project is unsuccessful.

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DESIGN CRITERIA

Design Criteria – Space

MUST

SHOULD

• • •

• • •

have a unified visual language across all forms of signage and furniture to position the biosphere within the context of CMNH and represent the character of the space be flexible to allow for changes to the physical layout of the space have places for visitors to sit and spaces for people to work or examine specimens enhance the visitor experience by clearly and effectively communicating and guiding visitors to information points within the space present the collections in an understandable, organized way while providing multiple entry points as a way to access the collections be compliant with the ADA in terms of readable signage and handicap accessibility have a lockable office for the designated scientist or docent to work employ GigaPan technology

• •

be appropriately lit and aerated to foster a comfortable environment without jeopardizing the safety of the specimens in the collections denote different areas of functionality within the space, e.g. collaborative vs. self-led elicit intended behaviors, e.g. engagement in activities, free exploration of space, etc.

COULD

• •

have an open space to interact with scientists and real specimens have modular furniture that is easy to rearrange and has consistent form language and is comfortable for visitors to sit on and work at employ docents to greet or lead first-time visitors through the space

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DESIGN CRITERIA

Design Criteria – Content Narrative

MUST

• • • •

answer the questions: “what is the biosphere?” and “what do I do here?” provide entry points to access the collection be flexible to allow for changes to the content be sustainable so that the museum staff can continuously provide accurate, up-to-date information

SHOULD

• •

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contain a supporting content flow within the space to help visitors understand key themes/issues as well as provide them with the reassurance and encouragement to keep exploring link to outside resources like Powdermill show visitors how scientists make their discoveries

COULD

• •

engage visitors through sensory learning as a tool to guide visitors through the collection empower visitors to make greater overarching connections that serve as a call-to-action


DESIGN CRITERIA

Design Criteria – Interactables

Design Criteria – Visitors

MUST

MUST

be modular/sustainable/flexible to allow for changes to the content/arrangement

know what is available to them and what they can do in the space be able to make their own discoveries

SHOULD

fit within the visual language seen in other areas of the museum

SHOULD

• •

be encouraged to return to the museum be able to engage with content regardless of background or knowledge base

COULD

• •

share their museum experience with friends or family take part in regular meetings of nature societies of PGH held in this space

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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS

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PROCESS

Initial Ideas Using the identified design opportunities on page 33, we began with sketches exploring ideas for learning spaces, navigation, and presentation of information. One of the early sketches included a learning classroom where visitors could come to learn about the Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems and what it does to preserve and study biodiversity. Through discussions with our team and the museum staff, including John Wenzel, head of the CBE, we developed a breadth of ideas. Through our explorations, we quickly realized that the space needed to offer visitors a richer learning experience than a traditional classroom and one that did not conform to the current learning styles offered by the museum. With this goal in mind, we started conceptualizing for a unique place where visitors can engage more closely with natural history and make their own discoveries about biodiversity: the Biosphere.

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PROCESS

Initial Scenarios Through some initial storyboards, we defined several narratives outlining how we anticipated people would interact with the space. These interactions include navigating through the space, conversing with the staff, handling specimens, and working in research environments. The storyboards serve to illustrate the overall experience that defines the space.

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PROCESS

Defining a Theme While hands-on interactions are a crucial aspect of discovery, the information that leads visitors to discovery is equally as important. Given that part of the function of our space is to provide a physical home to the Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems, it made sense to structure the content within the space around the theme of biodiversity. Biodiversity is often an underlying topic throughout much of the Natural History Museum, though never had a space devoted specifically to presenting the different aspects and issues of biodiversity. Focusing on biodiversity and ecosystems, the Biosphere emphasizes the connections and comparisons among the various natural collections housed in the room.

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PROCESS

Concept Sketches Drawing from our research findings and discussions with the museum staff, our group developed initial concepts centered around the design opportunities we defined in the beginning. Our thought process revolved around ideating for experiences that would enhance the existing well-worn character and immersive atmosphere of the space.

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PROCESS

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PROCESS

Developing a Narrative In the process of generating concepts for components to communicate information in the space, it was necessary to take a step back to ensure the concepts supported the overall vision we had established for the space. By firmly establishing the purpose of each component in the overall design of the space, we were able to concretely justify our design directions and the need for certain artifacts.

Establishing the project vision hierarchy: high level concept, themes, modes of interaction, interactables

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PROCESS

Defining the correlation between content and the points of interest, both to the museum and to the museum visitors

Organizing and structuring information

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PROCESS

User Testing & Analysis

Wednesday, March 21 – Scientists In a setting resembling a science fair, our group presented prototypes for the outer wall, the interactables in the space, and the content organization systems. During the first user testing session, mainly the museum’s staff and scientists were present. The scientists enjoyed the physicality of our interactables and the gridded structure of both the specimen cases and the outer wall. The major feedback we received was the need for our interactables to relate more directly to the collection. The people we talked to wanted to know where in the collection they could find certain specimens. To the museum staff, our prototypes felt very much like separate pieces and they wanted to see a more cohesive, interconnected system.

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PROCESS

Saturday, March 21 – Visitors The second user testing session focused more on determining the initial catalysts, or “hooks,� that caused visitors to interact with our prototypes. Overall, visitors responded overwhelmingly positively to the resin specimens on the light table; though, they wanted the relevant information about the specimen to be presented alongside it. They also preferred the world map composition for the outer wall over the heavily gridded composition. Strong visuals and tangibles acted as concrete entry points from which visitors began to ask questions.

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PROCESS

Refining Concepts Based on the feedback from the user testing sessions, we worked to refine our design concepts and prototypes. Two components of our design, the outer wall and the interactables, shifted considerably in design concept. Outer Wall: We found that visitors were drawn to the more visual map (Figure 1) with bugs highlighting hotspot areas than the static “bug wallpaper� design (Figure 2). In general visitors appreciated visual content, which was often times easier to understand than complex scientific descriptions. Feedback from scientists and visitors led us to refine the wall to make it primarily visual in nature, focusing on introducing what biodiversity is and why it’s important.

Figure 1

Figure 2

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PROCESS

Interactables: After weighing the feedback from the user testing sessions, the use of boxes within boxes (Figure 3-4) to explain ecological taxonomy needed to be re-evaluated for its effectiveness in the space. The boxes, while physically informative of ecological taxonomy, acted as another barrier to accessing the content; not every visitor was inclined to pull out and open up the boxes. On the other hand, the resin specimens and books in the bookshelves we displayed immediately caught the visitors’ attention, but lacked the information necessary to make the explorations meaningful. Therefore, we decided to combine the box and bookcase concepts to form the Eco Wall (Figure 5).

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

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PROCESS

Profiling Visitors to Refine the Narrative Through user testing we discovered that visitors enjoyed the different interactables; however, the visitors did not fully understand what we wanted them to learn by moving through the space. We realized that by restructuring the narrative, we could help visitors engage better with the collection and comprehend biodiversity more fully. Through user testing we discovered that visitors to the space will likely fit into three general categories: new visitors, returning visitors, and experts or regulars. By categorizing visitors into these three categories, we ensure that our designs cater to visitors of various knowledge backgrounds as well as visitors that are both unfamiliar and very familiar with the natural history museum as a whole. By providing entry points for new and returning visitors, our space serves to transform these infrequent visitors into regular visitors by providing a culture of exploration and discovery that offers new experiences with each visit to the museum.

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The new visitor wonders what exists in the space and wants to learn something new. New visitors may include parents and children visiting the museum for the first time.

The returning visitor likely found something that was exciting or engaging the first time and is returning because he/she wants to learn something new. Perhaps he/she will come with outstanding questions from previous visits and now want to delve deeper into the collection.

The regular or expert already knows a lot about biodiversity and ecosystems and visits repeatedly because this is his/her favorite space at the museum. The regular visitor brings in things he/she has found and talks with a scientist, conducts research, or uses the collection as a resource to learn more about the importance of specific species.


PROCESS

Each type of person learns similar pieces of information but explores the space in different ways based on his/her experience and knowledge of biodiversity. We used these observations to drive the final narrative and to refine the interactions in the space.

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PROCESS

Mapping Out the Space With refined design concepts and narrative, we considered how visitors would move through the space. Quickly sketching possible paths through the space, we identified a layout that would support our narrative without restricting visitors to a linear path.

New Visitors

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PROCESS

Returning Visitors

Regular Visitors and Experts

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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS


FINAL CONCEPT

System Overview The Biosphere is a place where visitors come to learn more about biodiversity and ecosystems. Infusing aspects of libraries, labs, exhibits, and coffee shops, the Biosphere is a comfortable, sophisticated destination within the Carnegie Museum of Natural History where visitors from various backgrounds can explore, discover, and contribute to the vast nature collections. The following actions are central to the visitor experience in the space: • EXPLORING the realms of biodiversity • INVESTIGATING the specimens • ASKING a scientist • DISCOVERING the collections • SHARING your findings Critically important to the final concept is the idea of ongoing action. The Biosphere is a place that offers visitors the freedom to define and redefine their experiences each time. To support and encourage these continuous actions, the final narrative we developed provides a framework to engage visitors with different knowledge backgrounds.

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FINAL CONCEPT

Team Discovery: Re-envisioning the Invertebrate Lab | Project Narrative

Project Narrative and Learning Points

“I wonder what this place is all about? What is interesting about this part of the museum?” The new visitor is wondering what is there and wants to learn something. This may be a parent and child visiting the museum for the first time.

The Returner

“This is a cool area to see. I always discover something new when I come here.” The returner found something that was exciting or engaging the first time and is coming back because he/she wants to learn something new. Perhaps they come with outstanding questions from previous visits and now want to delve deeper into the collection.

The Regular or Expert

“This is where I go. This space is my destination in the museum.” The regular or expert already knows a lot about biodiversity and ecosystems and keeps coming back because this is their favorite space at the museum. They can bring in things they’ve found and talk with a scientist, conduct research, or use the collection as a resource to learn more about the importance of specific species.

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Primary Learning Objectives

The New Visitor

Primary Learning Objectives

Biodiversity is the variety of life in species and ecosystems and maintains the balance in our environment. It occurs at three levels; genes, species, and ecosystems. This understanding of biodiversity frames the narrative and learning goals of the space. The newly designed interactables and integration of existing museum collections help answer questions about biodiversity, educate visitors, and spark their curiosity to further explore the museum’s research and collections.

space. The newly designed interactables and already existing museum collection will help to answer these questions, educate visitors, and spark their curiosity in exploring the museum’s research and collections further.

Primary Learning Objectives

Narrative Structure

Biodiversity is the variety of life in species and ecosystems. Biodiversity maintains balance in our environment. It occurs at three levels; Gene, Species, and Ecosystems. This understanding of biodiversity frames the narrative and learning goals of the


d se t

Primary Learning Objectives Primary Learning Objectives Primary Learning Objectives

g

Entrance (Outer Wall) -What is Biodiversity? -Why is it important?

Interactables Eco-Wall -What are the different eco-regions of the world? -What contributes to the biodiversity of an ecosystem? -What roles do bugs play in their ecosystems?

The Collection -What insects exist in each ecosystem? (Exploring “Wow� cases within the collection)

Takeaways Why is biodiversity important to me personally? What are some signature species of insects in the museum collection and why are they important?

Depth of Learning

t e.

Team Discovery: Re-envisioning the Invertebrate Lab | Project Nar

FINAL CONCEPT

Powdermill Gigapan -What is Powdermill and what do they do?

-What is Biodiversity? -Why is it important?

Eco-Wall -Why is Biodiversity important? -What are some signature species of insects that exist in the world? -What roles do bugs play in their ecosystems?

What insects exist in each ecosystem? What insects exist in Western Pennsylvania? (Exploring synoptic collection cases)

Why is biodiversity important to me personally? How do individual species of insects affect biodiversity?

Powdermill Gigapan -What research is being done at Powdermill?

-What is Biodiversity? -Why is it important?

Eco-Wall -Why is Biodiversity important? -What are some signature species of insects that exist in the world? -What roles do bugs play in their ecosystems?

What insects exist in each ecosystem?

Powdermill Gigapan -How can I use Powdermill as a resource to learn about biodiversity?

What insects are unique to Powdermill research?

What insects exist in Western Pennsylvania? (Exploring specifics within the synoptic collection)

What makes an individual insect unique and valuable to the larger system? How can I help protect or promote biodiversity?

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FINAL CONCEPT

Designed Components for the Biosphere Outer Wall The Outer wall is an opportunity to identify the space and introduce the topic of biodiversity. The outer wall explains what biodiversity is and why it’s important. It also leads visitors into the space and prepares them to explore the collection with a better understanding of biodiversity and the species that exist in different regions of the world.

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FINAL CONCEPT

— THE BIOSPHERE —

Discovery: Re-envisioning the Invertebrate Lab | Exterior Exhibit Concept | Spring 2012


FINAL CONCEPT

Eco Wall Biodiversity not only refers to the amount of species and variety of ecosystems in a given region, but also to the ecological processes that take place to maintain the balance of an ecosystem. The Eco Wall serves to highlight 24 signature species of bugs—the species that play significant roles in their ecosystems or in the lives of humans—and the ecological processes they support, like pollination, decomposition, and pest control. Arranged in a grid-like matrix, visitors can compare resin case specimens across geographical regions and across roles in their respective ecosystems. Each resin specimen is accompanied by a card that provides easily accessible information about the bug’s distribution, habitat, feeding habits, distinguishing characteristics, and contribution to ecosystem. To encourage visitors to delve deeper into the content, question cards are placed throughout the matrix to provide further areas of exploration. Visitors are free to take items from the wall and examine them at workspaces with microscopes and light tables. Visitors have access to bookshelves filled with field notes and scientists’ expertise, which they may consult to find the answers to these questions.

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FINAL CONCEPT

The Collections The existing stacks in the Biosphere house two main collections: the Global Collection and the Synoptic Collection of Western Pennsylvania. The Global Collection is organized by ecological taxonomy: columns represent ecozones and drawers represent habitats/ecosystems. Arranging the specimens in this way enables visitors to draw connections between different bugs in the same region that all contribute to the balance of that particular ecosystem. The Synoptic Collection is organized by taxonomy to emphasize the genetic and species diversity in Western Pennsylvania. Visitors are encouraged to contribute to the Synoptic Collection, bringing in their own specimens for identification and, if legal, inclusion in the collection itself. Overall, the Global Collection exposes visitors to biodiversity worldwide while the Synoptic Collection cultivates a sense of investment in the collection, in that visitors participate in building a representation of the biodiversity that exists in their own backyards.

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FINAL CONCEPT

Collaborative Spaces Modular Tables The modular work tables enable visitors and scientists to more easily work collaboratively on research and general exploration. The tables’ trapezoid-shaped surface allows multiple tables to fit together in various arrangements, allowing visitors to structure a work environment that suits their needs. For instance, if a scientist wishes to display a multitude of specimen trays at once, he can join several tables into one consistent surface. The table’s glass surface can be written on directly with dry-erase markers, allowing visitors to make notes, sketch, or share ideas. The tables are large enough to support specimen trays, microscopes, books, laptops, and the materials necessary for visitors and scientists to conduct their explorations. These tables will be placed in the open area of the space adjacent to the Daily Powdermill Gigapan screen.

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FINAL CONCEPT

Adjustable Benches Additional work benches are located in the alcoves along the walls of the stacks. These seating areas, including benches and adjustable table surfaces, accommodate one to two people at a time. The moveable table surface can be positioned as needed.

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FINAL CONCEPT

Daily Powdermill GigaPan A large digital display mounted behind the stairwell that faces the collaborative space showcases a daily GigaPan image, captured off-site at Powdermill Nature Reserve. Research conducted at Powdermill is documented daily using GigaPan images and time lapse video. Powdermill will expected to contribute updates about current research, programs, and general information about conservation efforts locally and worldwide. By having the GigaPan equipment on-site, researchers can run the device without interrupting their work schedules, quickly stitch the image together using the GigaPan software, and finally upload the image to a server for easy transfer to the museum in Pittsburgh. This concept for a daily GigaPan image or timelapse video can be extended to other research institutions affiliated with CMNH as well.

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Regarding Scientists Scientists, researchers, and docents play a key role in the Biosphere. They help visitors of all levels bridge the gap between initial interest and further research. While some of their responsibilities include maintaining organization within the space, the staff is vital in enriching the visitors’ learning experiences without jeopardizing the safety of the collections. To protect the specimens, some layers of information within the space will be limited to certain levels of proficiency. For instance, a new visitor may wish to examine a specific specimen drawer. If this drawer is of a particular value and not open to the public, a scientist or docent may choose to show the visitor under their supervision. If a visitor wishes to examine something using a microscope, a staff member would assist them by retrieving one from the scientists’ office space. Many things within the space, such as microscopes or rare specimens need to be handled delicately, and the public cannot be expected to consistently act in accordance. Therefore, it is up to the staff to provide access to the extra layers of experience for the visitors.


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FINAL CONCEPT

Visual Language Establishing a clear and consistent visual language for the invertebrate lab space creates a strong identity and helps to define the Biosphere as a destination within the larger museum. Additionally, consistent visual language in all media helps to connect the space to related resources, including the CBE and Powdermill.

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FINAL CONCEPT

Naming Currently the space is referred to by a variety of names, including “The Hub,” Invertebrate Lab, Section of Mollusks, Museum Archives, and the CBE. A consistent naming convention that describes the work and interactions happening in the space will help the area to gain recognition and establish a reputation in and outside the museum. A successful name for the space is sophisticated, unique from other named areas of the museum (e.g. PaleoLab, Discovery Zone, Polar World), and descriptive of the purpose of the space, actions of the CBE, and institutional research at CMNH. A “biosphere” is a global ecological system integrating all living beings and their relationships. Using the term “Biosphere” to identify the re-imagined lab space helps position the space as a destination within the museum where visitors can discover connections between all forms of life in the environment. The name “Biosphere” is inclusive, exciting, scientific, sophisticated, and unique.

welcome to the

biosphere

explore the

biosphere

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FINAL CONCEPT

Typography and Color The color palette and typographic choices reflect the sophistication and character of the space while also livening the room, and adding meaning to important pieces of information. The color choices also complement the existing hues of the wood, including the floor and permanent furniture, by drawing on the warm orange and green undertones. The color usage is particularly important to note. Rather than use color to “color-code� the ecozones or other topics within the content, color is instead used to denote action. Green on cream is consistently used for presenting factual information, no action required; whereas cream on an orange background signifies that an action is expected of the visitor, e.g. finding the answer to a question. The color usage acts as a subtle supplement to define the actions that take place in the space.

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FINAL CONCEPT

ABCDEFGHIJKLMN OPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz Trade Gothic LT Std Bold No. 2 – Title Text

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz Trade Gothic LT Std Regular – Body Text for Informational Signs

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz Dante MT Regular – Body Text for Questions

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FINAL CONCEPT

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FINAL CONCEPT

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FINAL CONCEPT

Spot Color Palette

C: 14 M: 83 Y: 100 K: 4

C: 25 M: 100 Y: 83 K: 21

C: 40 M: 85 Y: 55 K: 33

C: 20 M: 0 Y: 14 K: 0

C: 60 M: 40 Y: 75 K: 30

C: 48 M: 28 Y: 69 K: 4

C: 1 M: 0 Y: 11 K: 0

Neutral Color Palette

C: 50 M: 75 Y: 70 K: 55

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C: 62 M: 18 Y: 100 K: 3


FINAL CONCEPT

Informational Colors

Paper Tone

Action Colors French Paper Speckletone Madero Beach 100 C

Neenah Paper Classic Crest Natural White Smooth 100 C

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FINAL CONCEPT

Specifications The specifications are organized by designed component. All measurements are in inches.

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General Signage All signage is printed on French Paper Speckletone Madero Beach 100 cover weight, except for the orange signage. All orange signs are printed on white large format inkjet paper. Signage larger than 13x13 inches is printed on large format HP printers. Smaller signage is printed using a small inkjet photo printer.


FINAL CONCEPT

welcome to the

biosphere Biodiversity exists all around us and is important to maintaining the balance in the natural world. We as humans have a great impact on ecosystems and the ecological processes within them, which is why it is so important that scientists collect, study, and preserve specimens. The biosphere houses the Carnegie Museum’s growing synoptic collection of insects in Western PA and around the world. It is a direct look at the biodiversity that exists around us. What is your role in helping or hindering the natural balance? Explore the biosphere!

explore the

biosphere explore the realms of biodiversity

investigate the specimens

ask a scientist

31 in

discover the collections

share your findings

Entrance signage

20 in

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Biodiversity of the Nearctic The Nearctic ecozone covers the North American continent from Greenland to the Mexican highlands. This includes the biodiversity

FINAL CONCEPT

of western Pennsylvania. The largest hotspot in the Nearctic can be found in southern California and northwestern Mexico.

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper The Eastern Lubber Grasshopper can be found in the southeastern United States. It most often lives in weedy fields or wooded areas. Since it is an herbivore it often affects the density of citrus crop in the southeast. It is known for its unique colors and size. It can grow up to 3 inches long.

18.2 in

Biodiversity of the Neotropic Outer Wall The outer wall is painted a creamy beige hue (below). The continents and bugs are made of white wall mural stickers, printed out in the shape of continents and adhered to the wall.

The Neotropic ecozone extends from Central America southward, including the Caribbean Islands and the entire South American continent. The Amazon rainforest is one of the most ecologically diverse regions of the world and extends across the continent through Brazil and Peru.

Gypsy Moth 6.2 in

To add levels of information, a projection highlights different parts of the map, e.g. the different ecozones, biodiversity hotspots over time, and human population density. Either through a short-throw projector or a regular projector, a video is played on loop on the wall. To allow for a projection without compromising the legibility of informational text, all signage is located on the floor. The layout of the signage complements the various viewing distances, providing deeper, richer content about the specific bugs and ecozones as the visitor moves closer to the wall.

The Gypsy Moth originated in Europe and Asia but can be found today throughout the Palearctic ecozone as well as in the United States. Gypsy Moths live on and in trees and eat their leaves. High concentrations of them can destroy entire trees.

Biodiversity of the Afrotropic The Afrotropic ecozone includes all biodiversity south of the vast Sahara desert. The Serengeti Plain and the Guinean and Congo forests well as Madagascar some the M most exotic Bug Floor Labels: Header type - Trade Gothic LTasStd Bold No. 2feature 55 pt, Cof60 40 Y 75 species of insects in the world. K 30; Body type - Trade Gothic LT Std Regular 22pt, 80% black.

Emerald Dung Beetle The Emerald Dung Beetle lives in the savanna of southern Africa. It feeds on other animals’ waste. It improves nutrient recycling and soil quality, and also helps to protect livestock by removing dung, which would attract annoying pests.

Biodiversity of the Palearctic The Palearctic ecozone covers the largest area of the globe stretching across all of Europe, the Sahara desert of Africa, and Asia north of the Himalayan foothills. A vast majority of the Palearctic features

Wall Color – C: 3, M: 3, Y: 18, K: 0

boreal and temperate climates.

Blood-Sucking Conenose The Blood-Sucking Conenose has a long, cone shaped mouth called a proboscis that it uses to suck the blood of mammals including rodents, house pets, and even people. It is often found in areas of South America nearGothic the equator. it “The kissing bug.”Y Ecozone Floor Labels: Header type - Trade LT Some Std people Bold have No.nicknamed 2 55 pt, C 60 M 40 75 K 30; Body type - Trade Gothic LT Std Regular 22pt, 80% black.

Biodiversity of the Indomalaya The Indomalaya ecozone covers southern Asia from India to the Philippines and includes parts of the Himalaya mountain range. Most of Indomalaya was originally covered by tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests.

Silkworm The Silkworm is an economically important insect, because it produces silk. It prefers to white mulberry leaves. Silkworms do not live naturally in the wild and are dependent on humans in order to reproduce. Sericulture, breeding silkworms to produce silk, is a part of many asian cultures.

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Biodiversity of Australasia

4.3 in


The Silkworm is an economically important insect, because it produces silk. It prefers to white mulberry leaves. Silkworms do not live naturally in the wild and are dependent on humans in order to reproduce. Sericulture, breeding silkworms to produce silk, is a part of many asian cultures.

FINAL CONCEPT

Purple Down-Under Ground Beetle Native to Australia, the Purple Down-Under Ground Beetle mostly lives under tree bark, logs, or among rocks or sand by the edge of ponds and rivers. It is important to biodiversity because it eats different types of insects considered to be pests. This helps to maintain the ecological balance in ecosystems.

BIODIVERSITY

3 ft

Biodiversity is the variety of life forms in species and ecosystems. Biodiversity is important in our world because a diverse environment helps to maintain natural balance and stability.

ECOZONES Ecozones are regions of the world based on the types of organisms that live within them. Ecozones contain many different ecosystems and habitats. For example, although rainforest ecosystems exist in both Central America and New Guinea, they are considered in different ecozones because they contain different species of organisms. Biodiversity hotspots are regions of ecozones

3 ft

with a high amounts of biodiversity that are under threat from humans.

THE COLLECTION All species of insects are unique and valuable to

2 ft

our world. Researchers and scientists here at Carnegie Museum of Natural History actively discover, collect, and study these insects. Come inside to discover and explore the collections.

Topic Floor Labels: Header type - Trade Gothic LT Std Bold No. 2 80 pt, C 60 M 40 Y 75 K 30; Body type - Trade Gothic LT Std Regular 22pt, 80% black.

Label Placement, top view of floor, wall at the top

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FINAL CONCEPT

Eco-Wall • Print ecozone and ecological processes labels on Speckletone Madero Beach 100 C using an inkjet photo printer. Mount labels to 0.25 in thick wood board for support. Use velcro to adhere signs to shelf so that content may easily be changed. • Print bug labels on Neenah Classic Crest Classic Natural White 100 C paper using an inkjet photo printer. • Print all orange question cards on white Red River or Inkpress fine art paper 100 C using an inkjet printer. • Shelf should be made of a hardwood, like mahogany, for durability and stained a warm, dark mahogany tone. • Label stands are made of white oak wood and stained a lighter tone to set them apart from the dark espresso hue of the shelves.

2 in

13.125 in

6.5 in

5.75 in

4 in

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4 in

5 in


FINAL CONCEPT

13.25

1.75

0.75

13.25

94.875

3.875

0.75 15.75

48.25

0.75

101.0

12.0

Shelves

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6.0

BOTTOM VIEW

4.0

60.0째

60.0째 1.0

0.5

SIDE VIEW

END VIEW

0.375 0.125

0.2

5.0

0.25

2.736

Wooden Bug Label Stands

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TOP VIEW

0.013

2.736

0.375


BOTTOM VIEW

1.5

1.5

0.5

SIDE VIEW

1.0

60.0째

0.75

0.125

0.25 0.125

TOP VIEW

END VIEW

60.0째

0.063 0.125

0.013

0.25

0.225

Wooden Question Stands

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FINAL CONCEPT

1.646

Furniture • built out of hardwood, i.e. mahogany, and finished with “Espresso” stain • table has a glass surface, which would require a custom cut 0.25 in thick glass surface

1.281

1.75

45.0°

1.5 BOTTOM VIEW

3.821

2.511

19.989 2.0

SIDE VIEW

31.0

END VIEW

29.0

29.990

TOP VIEW

45.0°

1.076

Modular Tables

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67.127

19.975


FINAL CONCEPT

10.5

14.875

BOTTOM VIEW

72.317 25.5

0.75

10.375 SIDE VIEW

28.5

28.5

END VIEW

17.875

10.375

24.0

25.5

TOP VIEW

Adjustable Benches

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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS


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RECOMMENDATIONS

Production Phases Each designed component plays a crucial role in the visitors’ learning and interactions in the space. Therefore, every component should begin build out in Phase 1. Given the layered learning incorporated into the designed components, it is possible to construct the analog version and, as funding permits, add the digital components and pursue permanent renovation plans. PHASE 1

• • • •

Outer Wall: Painted wall and printed bugs Eco-Wall: Main shelf, labels, resin specimens, stands, literature Collaborative Space: GigaPan Epic Pro, D-SLR camera, Display monitor, macMini Misc: Entry signage and collection labels

PHASE 2

• • •

Outer Wall: Projector Eco-Wall: Separate shelves throughout space Collaborative Space: 6 microscopes

TOTAL (PHASE 1 + 2)

EST. COST

$8,502 $688 $10,926 $100

PHASE 3

• • •

Outer Wall: Wood floor (using 10 feet from Simmons Gallery space) Collaborative Space: 6 modular tables Collection: Stack retrofit to allow visitors to pull out drawers with risk of damaging specimens

EST. COST

$1,656 $3,000 $250,000

EST. COST

$926 $500 $1,860

Note: Costs associated with hiring a full-time, knowledgeable docent are not included.

$23,502

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RECOMMENDATIONS

Business Plan The proposed design concept for the Biosphere enhances the visitor experience, cultivating a culture of regular visitors, while also positioning the museum as an innovative institution that fosters a community of nature enthusiasts. The design plan also establishes the Biosphere as a destination within the museum, a permanent home for the Center of Biodiversity and Ecosystems, and also as a vital link to outside resources such as Powdermill. Opening the museum’s invertebrate collection to the public will benefit the museum by allowing visitors to make richer discoveries, leading to more meaningful takeaways and to greater transparency between the museum and its visitors by opening previously restricted areas. The Biosphere is a valuable investment for CMNH because it is designed to be a permanent, flexible, and sustainable fixture within the museum. The interactions and content within the space have the potential to turn one-time, casual visitors into regular visitors by cultivating a community of amateur naturalists, aspiring experts, biodiversity advocates, and dedicated museum patrons.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

Sustainability & Maintenance Sustainability As the issues surrounding biodiversity and ecosystems change or evolve over time, the highlighted content within the space should also reflect these shifts in order to keep the information relevant and interesting. The curatorial team should specifically focus on the Eco Wall, interchanging the different ecozones, ecological process, and signature specimens to keep the experience fresh for repeat visitors. The modularity and flexibility of the proposed design concept allows the space to take on many different functions. The museum should plan to open the space up to nature groups in the Pittsburgh area. By allowing these natural enthusiasts and experts to meet in the space, the museum can more actively build a community of regular visitors, ensuring a deep engagement with the collection and a dedication to growing its synoptic collection of Western Pennsylvania. The materials used in the space for furniture and specimen display shelves and stands not only communicate an atmosphere of sophistication, they also are intended to last for longer periods of time. The paper labels in the Eco Wall shelf may need to be reprinted occasionally due to wear and tear, though at a small price compared to the quality and genuineness these natural, earthy materials evoke.

Maintenance Our concept relies on the presence of a scientist or docent at all times. That facilitator will take on a role similar to that of a librarian: ensure the safety of the collection and the equipment in the space while serving as a personable, valuable resource of knowledge. In terms of regular upkeep, the resin specimens will need to be cleaned on a weekly basis to remove fingerprints and smudges that can otherwise obscure the specimen inside. Resin can yellow over time when exposed to UV light, so precautionary UV blocking measures should be implemented on the windows in the space. The modular tables and nook table-seating units will also require daily to weekly care, ensuring clean work surfaces, functioning components, and tidy arrangement. The focus of our concept on insects serves as a smaller case study for the content that could eventually be included in the space. We envision the Global and Synoptic Collections to expand to include plants, mollusks, mammals, birds, etc in order to better illustrate the function, value, and importance of biodiversity and ecosystems.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

Imagined Scenarios The following three scenarios illustrate the interactions we imagine people having with the Biosphere. Each scenario relates specifically to one of the three defined visitor personas integral to the content and interaction narratives of our space: new visitor, returning visitor, and regular visitor.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

Imagined Scenario 1 New Visitor The annual Taylor family reunion brings the five families together. This year, the families are all meeting at James and Kathryn’s house in Friendship Pittsburgh. Saturday morning, James and Kathryn’s two boys want to go to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to show their cousins the M is for Museum exhibit. James and Kathryn get the six children settled in the minivan and head off for Oakland.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

1. When they arrive at the museum, James walks to the front desk while Katheryn makes sure that the children behave themselves as they wait for the tickets. James pays for the tickets helps the children put their tags on securely. Then their two boys lead the way to the Simmons Gallery.

2. As they enter the room, James and Katheryn keep an eye on the children but let their boys explore as they are having a great time with their cousins. As the children make their way to the taxidermied animal display, James notices a large map on the wall with lines leading down onto the floor.

3. He walks over to one of the graphics on the ground and begins to read about the Nearctic Ecozone. He notices that the graphic leads to the entrance to the Biosphere, a room that he has not seen before. He walks up and looks through the window and sees a few families pulling out and looking a drawers full of large and exotic insects.

4. James calls his family over to the doorway and leads them inside. He walks down the left corridor and pulls out a drawer containing large spiders from the Afrotropic region. Katheryn is disgusted and walks away from the drawer. James’ older son, however, is fascinated by the specimens and begins to open other drawers.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

5. While James and his eldest son are looking through the wow collection, Katheryn walks into the open space and is greeted by Andrea, the naturalist sitting at a desk preparing specimens. Kathryn notices that there are other visitors that look like they are studying insects at adjacent tables as well.

6. Her younger son and the cousins walk over to the Eco Wall located on a raised platform against the far wall. As she joins the children, she notices that the wall has a large assortment of insects cast in plastic. She picks one up, revealing an informational card and begins to read about the Rose Chafer Beetle.

7. James and her older son walk over to join the rest of the family looking at the wall. Katheryn browses the wall until she finds an iridescent butterfly that catches her eye. She shows James the specimen and they both admire its beauty.

8. Her younger son and cousins have finished looking around the wall and want to go back to the Simmons Gallery and so the family leaves the Biosphere, but both James and Katheryn want to come back at a later time to see what other surprises the space has to offer.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

Imagined Scenario 2 Returning Visitor On a pleasant sunny day  in Pittsburgh, Lucas, a 24 year old graduate student is going to spend the day at the Carnegie Museum with his lady friend, Clara! They both study Statistics and are interested in the natural world. Clara has not been to the Museum since she was a child, but Lucas had told her about the newest attractions at the Museum. The current exhibit is the Experimental Gallery which is currently hosting the world of insects. Lucas had seen the exhibits already and is excited to show it to Clara.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

1. After taking an informative tour through the different exhibits, Lucas and Clara find themselves in the Simmons Gallery looking at the various specimens on display. A large map on the far wall catches Clara’s eye. “What is that light?” she asks Lucas. “That is called the Biosphere!” he responds. “It’s a really neat place, I saw the coolest specimens there. Let’s go check it out!”

2. Lucas and Clara make their way over to the outer wall of the Biosphere. Lucas points out several interesting points on the wall and starts to explain the concept of ‘Biodiversity’ to Clara. In the process, Lucas discovers a bug on the outer wall, and not just any ordinary bug, mind you. This bug was special.

3. Lucas leans in to gain a better view of the specimen and is taken aback by its magnificence. “We have to go inside! I really want to know what the hell this thing is!” he said to Clara. “The last time I was in the Biosphere, they showed us this massive collection of insects, so maybe its in there! There were also people in there doing actual research, so they might know something about it!”

4. Lucas takes Clara into the Biosphere. They see several people at research tables examining specimens, reading, drawing, and discussing various topics. Lucas heads straight into the collection to look for his bug. He doesn’t know much about it, so he decides to explore various drawers, searching for similar specimens.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

5. After randomly searching for a while, Lucas decides that he needs some assistance. He looks around and is greeted by a scholarly looking fellow. Lucas attempts to explain this magnificent bug that he had seen on the outer wall. The fellow, who is actually one of the working scientists, knows exactly what he is looking for, and leads him to the ecozone stack.

6. He pulls out the tenth drawer from the top, revealing Lucas’ bug and many other interesting looking specimens! Lucas is thrilled and begins asking the scientist many questions.

7. They sit down at one of the aisle benches, place the specimen drawer on the table, and begin discussing Lucas’ specimen.

8. Meanwhile, Clara begins browsing the Eco-Wall. She picks up various resin specimens from the local Pittsburgh region. She reads an except about Powdermill and notices a large interactive screen with high definition images displayed at the other end of the collaborative space.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

9. Exploring the touchscreen, she discovers a collection of daily Gigapan images from the Powdermill Nature reserve. They docent currently on shift explains to Clara the research currently being done at Powdermill. They continue browsing the Gigapan images together, the scientist adding little anecdotes as they go.

10. After some lengthy conversation, Lucas and Clara say farewell to the scientist and docent. Excited about their new discoveries they tell each other what they learned. Lucas found a great deal of surprising facts about his bug, and Clara took an interest in the conservation efforts of the Powdermill Nature reserve.

11. They leave the Biosphere content with their new findings and interests. Lucas hopes to return soon in order explore the collection further, and Clara plans to learn more of the conservation efforts in her hometown.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

Imagined Scenario 3 Regular Visitor While hiking a trail in the Laurel highlands one Saturday afternoon, Rick spots a insect that he thinks he recognizes. He looks closer and notices that the beetle looks mostly like the Banasa Stink Bug but that the colors are different. Curious, Rick collects the insect and brings it home with him.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

1. The following day, Rick decides to head to the Biosphere at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to see if he can learn more about the beetle he collected. He shows his membership pass at the front desk and heads towards the Simmon’s Gallery on the third floor. He sees the Biosphere entrance to his left as he enters the Simmon’s Gallery and passes through the familiar doorway.

2. Rick waves a quick hello to Andrea, the resident naturalist overlooking the Biosphere. He moves to the stacks containing the family Pentatomidae and begins searching each drawer to see if someone has previously collected this specimen.

3. His search is unsuccessful. Rick walks out of the stacks and over to Andrea’s desk. She greets him with a smile and asks what she could help him with. He places the small tupperware container on her desk and asks if she can help him identify it. She looks at it and is not sure. She agrees that it looks like the Banasa Stink Bug but she knows that the colors are not right.

4. Andrea asks Rick to wait while she goes to see if Bob Davidson is in his office. She returns with the beetle specialist and introduces him to Rick. Excited, Rick and Bob sit down to look at the specimen.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

5. Almost immediately Bob identifies the beetle as the Rice Stink Bug commonly found in Texas and expresses concern for the fact that this specimen was found in western Pennsylvania. Rick asks if anyone had previously added this beetle to the synoptic collection and Bob responds that he does not think so.

6. He then helps Rick unlock one of the Pentatomidae drawers and brings it over to the table so that they can prepare the specimen. Bob has Rick fill out a form regarding the location, time, and date that he found the beetle and then helps him correctly pin the specimen into the drawer.

7. Once they have finished, Bob asks Rick to keep an eye out for these particular stink bugs as they are known to damage crops wherever they are.

8. As Rick leaves the Biosphere, he has a sense of pride and satisfaction that one of his very own specimens is safely preserved in the natural history museum’s synoptic collection and that he has a new perspective on invasive beetle species in western Pennsylvania. He is excited to continue assisting Bob Davidson in his research and looks forward to returning to the Biosphere.

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CHALLENGE RESEARCH STRATEGY DESIGN CRITERIA PROCESS FINAL CONCEPT RECOMMENDATIONS REFLECTIONS


REFLECTIONS

NICK ABELE

ALLISON LENZ

Most valuable lesson learned

Most valuable lesson learned

Never underestimate the value of taking a break from work to observe life because often you will find great inspiration from watching simple interactions.

Just when you think you’re done, you’re really only scratching the surface.

Most challenging aspect

Structuring, writing, and designing content that is engaging and meaningful to visitors.

Working on responsibilities outside the realm of visual design and still delivering results that were credible and professional. Most rewarding experience

Having a supportive team. Working as a part of a team where there is a high level of mutual respect made for a smooth workflow and also allowed us to challenge each other.

DANIEL CHOW Most valuable lesson learned

Great design work does not come simply from waiting for a client to give you an opportunity but rather from your own initiative. Most challenging aspect

Designing around the delicate hierarchy structure within the client institution.

Most challenging aspect

Most rewarding experience

Working with a design team that understands what it means to give it your all.

JEFFREY STOEBE Most valuable lesson learned

Consider the actions that you expect people take, while still anticipating the many that are not foreseen. Most challenging aspect

Presenting myself in a professional manner to such a prestigious institution. Most rewarding experience

The knowledge that I have gained about the construction, logistics, and materials utilized by the museum to design space.

Most rewarding experience

Getting to work in a multidisciplinary team where each skillset brought to the table was valued and necessary.

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Re-envisioning the Invertebrate Lab  

Process Book and documentation of a exhibit design study and proposal for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

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