Seeing Birds

Seeing Birds

Exhibit
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.

Role:
Producer, Creative and Technical Direction, Editor, Media and System Design

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

Closest Relative Interactive was developed in collaboration with Drumminhands Design.

Bird silhouette animations by Jacob Seal.

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

Research Videos

You Are Here

You Are Here

Exhibit
Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati – 2020

You Are Here shares stories of Cincinnati’s history – its people, places, traditions and struggles – that spark curiosity about how life in the city was, is and can be. The gallery is centered around three themes: Living Here, Working Here and Playing Here. The exhibit features several multimedia installations.

Street Murals are a big deal in Cincinnati. In the Mural Studio, visitors can take their photo, design a mural, and then send it to a large rotating projection on the wall. Kinect camera technology crops the background from the visitor photos without a green screen.

Cincinnati Counts asks visitors a series of playful questions. Visitors can take their photo or select an avatar, answer the questions and then see their image along with those of other visitors projected nearby. The projection rotates through the questions and the visitor images cling to their chosen response.

Quizinnati is a four-player multiple-choice quiz game that tests visitors’ knowledge of Cincinnati trivia. There are five games with six questions each, narrated with spirited energy and enhanced with imagery and film footage.

The news desk invites visitors to play TV anchor. Visitors sit at the news desk, select a story, and read from a teleprompter. Their composited image complete with supplemental over-the-shoulder graphics is displayed on the other side for friends to enjoy.

Other media elements include a loop of historic home movies and an interactive time clock where visitors can “punch in” for work and learn a bit about Cincinnati workers.

Role:
Producer, Creative and Technical Direction, Editing, Authoring, Media and System Design 

Mural Studio and Cincinnati Counts were developed in collaboration with Ideum.

Quizinnati was edited by Ned Hurley.

Exhibit development, design, and fabrication: Science Museum of Minnesota.

Our Home Native Minnesota

Our Home Native Minnesota

Exhibit and Communication Media
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul – 2019

Our Home Native Minnesota shares the stories of the Dakota, Ojibwe, and people from other tribal nations who have dwelled on the land we know today as Minnesota for thousands of years and still live there today. The exhibit includes stories of survival, resilience, enduring presence, and deep connection to the land.

In addition to featuring a wide range of objects, it is also rich with multimedia. Experiences include introductions to both Dakota and Ojibwe homeland, a large projection in a central reflection space featuring landscapes, places, and traditions both past and present, a video kiosk with stories about the Dakota hymnal, and an interactive depicting Dakota and Ojibwe placenames throughout Minnesota narrated by students from the Bdote Learning Center. Multiple placenames are also projected with gobos on the floor throughout the exhibit.

Role:
Multimedia Director: Creative and Technical Direction, Media and System Design
(On staff with the Minnesota Historical Society)

First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom

First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom

Exhibit and Communication Media
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul – 2019

First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom celebrated five decades of this iconic Minnesota music venue. From the inaugural performance with Joe Cocker when it was called The Depot, to the disco days of Sam’s and Uncle Sam’s, to the club it is now, the exhibit highlighted the musicians, staff, and fans who have called First Avenue & 7th Street Entry their rock ’n’ roll home.

Multimedia highlights included Joe Cocker’s performance in 1970, a lighted disco floor featuring music from Mind and Matter, a behind-the-scenes tour with a long-time staffer and photographer Dan Corrigan, highlights from the hip-hop collective Doomtree presented in their tour van Mountain, and, of course, an homage to Prince projected on a larger-than-life scrim. At the center of the exhibit was an eight video channel multimedia story theater featuring musicians, staff, and fans sharing stories of emotional connection to the place on a replica of the main room stage – complete with an electric projection screen stage reveal, just like the real club.

In addition to the exhibit media, stories for social media were planned in conjunction with the exhibit development to expand the storytelling and engagement beyond the walls of the museum. The social media stories feature musicians describing the venue in one word as well as telling their most fond First Ave memory. The exhibit ran from May 2019 to December 2020. Unfortunately, museum closure due to COVID-19 interrupted the run. Some of the media content was able to be repurposed on the website during this downtime while social media continued to play a role in keeping the story alive.

Role:
Multimedia Director: Creative and Technical Direction, Media and System Design
(On staff with the Minnesota Historical Society)

Communication Media

Sequoyah’s Story

Sequoyah's Story

Exhibit
Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Vonore, TN – 2018

The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is dedicated to telling the story of Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee writing system. Despite his numerous challenges facing ridicule, doubt, and family rebellion, Sequoyah persisted and created a written language for the Cherokees. This major exhibit renovation brings Sequoyah’s story to life with impactful multimedia experiences.

The production of the multimedia experiences for Sequoyah Birthplace Museum involved extensive collaboration with the Eastern Band of Cherokee and included Cherokee actors Wes Studi, DeLanna Studi, and Mike Crowe.

Role:
Producer, Director, Editor, Sound Designer, Media and System Design

Exhibit development and design: Henley Company with Rummel Design
Exhibit fabrication: Color-Ad, Inc.

The Mystery: Who Was Sequoyah? is a brief and powerful introduction to Sequoyah and his significance. Visitors enter a circular space seemingly surrounded by forest. As the show begins, video is projected as the narrator takes us from Sequoyah’s birth in a traditional Cherokee home to the U.S. Capitol where Sequoyah is now represented in Statuary Hall. As the video fades, several significant individuals are named and their statues are illuminated behind a scrim, eventually revealing a statue of Sequoyah.

The show features Cherokee actors DeLanna Studi and Mike Crowe as the narrator.

The Transformation: From Sounds to Symbols portrays Sequoyah’s dramatic journey to create the Cherokee Syllabary. Visitors enter another circular theater space, this time with a scrim depicting the exterior of a cabin. When the show begins, the cabin interior is revealed behind the scrim. As the story unfolds, Sequoyah, and eventually his daughter Ayoka, are represented visually as shadows on the back wall of the cabin. A large piece of “paper” comes to life on the table as Sequoyah tries several variations of symbols leading to the eventual syllabary. Other visual effects create a glowing fire in the fireplace and the passing of seasons out the window.

The show is voiced by Cherokee actors Wes Studi, DeLanna Studi, and Mike Crowe.

As users scroll left to right, this interactive shows Cherokee land cessions over time. It ends on two spots depicting Cherokee land today, illustrating the dramatic loss of land.

The Spirit of Sequoyah appears at first to be a large portrait of Sequoyah sitting in a cabin. When this piece is activated, Sequoyah (played by Wes Studi) comes to life, greets the visitor, explains the lessons he’s learned in life, and passes on words of encouragement.

Mary and Her Monster

Mary and Her Monster

Exhibit
The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis – 2016

The Bakken’s Mary and Her Monster exhibit portrays the life, ideas, and inspirations of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. This relatively small exhibit is packed with multimedia experiences and interactives, featuring a living portrait of Mary where she discusses the people, science, art, and culture in her life. Other experiences include a depiction of Mary’s literary influences with animated words that appear to float in a cabinet, an interactive quiz developed by students at the Blake School, and a video projection in a flask developed by artist Irene Brown.

Role:
Creative and Technical Direction, Videographer, Editor, Media and System Design

Then Now Wow

Then Now Wow

Exhibit
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul – 2012

Then Now Wow is an episodic Minnesota history exhibit exploring the regions and cultures of the state featuring over 20 multimedia components. Multimedia highlights include a Dakota tipi featuring contemporary artist and storyteller Bobby Wilson, an interactive iron mine allowing visitors to explore the dangerous jobs within, a sod house environment with digital scenery outside the windows depicting changing seasons and a locust storm, an Ojibwe boarding school environment juxtaposed with student stories from a contemporary Ojibwe school, and Broken Promises multimedia interactive putting users in the position of the Dakota having to make choices about signing treaties while giving up land and ways of life. An online version of Broken Promises is available here. Even though Broken Promises is a 10-minute experience, analytics built into the interactive indicate that 70% of visitors consistently make it all the way through the interactive.

Award:
Award of Merit, 2013 American Association for State and Local History

Role:
Multimedia Director: Creative and Technical Direction, Producer, Media and System Design
(On staff with the Minnesota Historical Society)

The 1968 Exhibit

The 1968 Exhibit

Traveling Exhibit
Multiple Venues – 2011-2018

The 1968 Exhibit looked at how the experiences of the year fueled a persistent, if often contradictory, sense of identity for the people who were there. The exhibit was rich with over a dozen multimedia experiences, including Vietnam war stories presented in a real Huey helicopter, prominent installations about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Democratic National Convention, a voting interactive utilizing an authentic 1960s voting machine, as well as a multi-player music quiz and a “Design your own Album Cover” kiosk.

The exhibit toured to ten venues nationally from 2011 to 2018 and was on display twice at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul at the beginning and the end of the tour. Several venues experienced record attendance while hosting the exhibit.

Award – 1968 Huey Helicopter Vietnam Stories:
Honorable Mention, Multimedia Installations, 2012 American Association of Museums MUSE Award

Role:
Multimedia Director: Creative and Technical Direction, Producer, Media and System Design
(On staff with the Minnesota Historical Society)

Open House

Open House

Exhibit
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul – 2006

Open House: If These Walls Could Talk was a highly interactive exhibit documenting the 150-year history of a real St. Paul residence. Each room in the house represented a different era in time. Visitors were encouraged to explore and, in doing so, discover stories from some of the 50 plus families who at one time occupied the house. Many of the multimedia elements were triggered through tangible interfaces and were often emulating era-appropriate technology, such as the lantern slide in the 1880s parlor.

Open House was on display for thirteen years at the Minnesota History Center. It was retired in the summer of 2019.

Awards:
Award of Merit and WOW! Award, American Association for State and Local History
St. Paul Heritage and Preservation Award for Community Education

Role:
Producer, Editor, Sound Designer, Programmer, Media and System Design, Installation
(On staff with the Minnesota Historical Society)

The original occupants of the house were featured in this parlor, which was filled with interactives. Six lantern slides told the story of their immigration from Germany to the United States. Touching the keys on the piano triggered an unexpected sound of a woman saying, “Just don’t ask me to play,” supporting the surrounding story of her stage fright. 

In the kitchen, stories centered around the Italian family who lived in the house at the time in the 1930s. Opening the stove played an oral history story about how they were going to feed an entire wedding party hosted at the house.

The dining room featured three stories illustrated with video and imagery in plates and enhanced with sound and lighting effects.

In the bedroom, visitors were prompted to sit on the bed, and in doing so, triggered a story about it continually falling down. At that point in the story, the bed dropped.

In one of the hallways, visitors discovered this opening where they could peer down into what looked like a basement and hear stories of how different occupants of the house used it. The illusion was so convincing, the museum director at the time thought we had actually cut a hole into the floor.

The final room in the house depicted the Hmong family who lived there in the 2000s. A media presentation in the window and on an era appropriate television told their harrowing story of fleeing their war-torn homeland in Laos and immigrating to the United States.