Seeing Birds

Bell Museum, St. Paul – 2022

The exhibition Seeing Birds integrates art, science, and nature to ignite curiosity and wonder about the beauty and biology of birds, engaging visitors in an exploration of birds, their environments, and their evolution. It focuses on critical research on birds from the University of Minnesota, reviewing advances in our understanding of birds made through careful observation of their behavior and habitat and revealing current research that advances knowledge of our changing world.

The multimedia experiences in the exhibit are simple, yet effective.  A large-scale projection of starling murmurations captures visitors’ attention right at the exhibit entrance. Around the corner, another projection depicts the majesty of bird movement with a montage of birds flying, diving, and swimming. A kiosk holds four original short videos about bird research at the University of Minnesota, featuring Bell scientists and graduate students.

One of the fan favorites is a projected animation depicting the evolution of bird traits in dinosaurs and the eventual explosion of bird diversity through an artful animation. A nearby touchscreen interactive allows visitors to see if they can identify the closest bird relatives to a given species and then reveals sometimes hidden connections based on current DNA evidence. Finally, an audio environment with urban sounds and birds prompts visitors to hear what our world would sound like without birds. Pushing a button mutes the birds, leaving only the din of the urban landscape.

Seeing Birds was on view from January to October 2022 at the Bell Museum.

Producing, creative and technical direction, editing, media and system design

Research video co-producer and videographer: Cully Gallagher. Additional videography by Emily Dzieweczynski.

Closest Relative interactive developed in collaboration with Drumminhands Design.

Bird silhouette animations by Jacob Seal.

Exhibit development, design, and fabrication: Outhouse Exhibit Services.

Bird Diversity Animation

Research Videos