Made in Cincinnati

Made in Cincinnati

Object Theater and Exhibit Interactive
Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati – 2022

Made in Cincinnati explores the city’s inventors and laborers, the products they developed, and the markets they transformed.

At the center of the exhibit is the object theater Cincinnati Makes Things Better. This quirky, fast-paced show highlights several of the people and inventions to which the Queen City lays claim. Topics include machine tools, pork processing, Crosley radios and WLW, King Records, Black inventor Granville T. Woods, the Warner Elevator Safety Catch, and the first steam-powered fire engine.

To add to the charm, the show is narrated by a personified flying Lego pig, which is an object from the Cincinnati Museum Center’s collection. Several other objects from the museum’s collection are also featured throughout the show, including a giant cast-fab ladle from a Cincinnati foundry. As the museum’s director put it, the show is a “love letter to Cincinnati.”

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

Editor: Ned Hurley
Lighting designer and programmer: Jesse Cogswell
Exhibit development, design, and fabrication: Science Museum of Minnesota

In addition to the object theater, Heinzen Media also animated, edited, and programmed an interactive for the Made in Cincinnati exhibit called Wartime Pivots. Visitors press a large button under a screen to “flip” a Rolodex-like set of cards. The animation stops on a clue and visitors guess which industry matches by pressing the button next to its graphic.

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.

Desert at Night Theater

Desert at Night Theater

Immersive Story Theater
San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego – 2014

Two children, Michael and Nina, are camping in the desert and hear the sounds of all the animals that come out at night. Projections are mapped onto the tent surface, sky, and rock and depict the children as silhouettes in the tent as well as many of the animals – either realistically or as they are imaged in the minds of the characters. As the story unfolds, the children discover how busy the desert really is at night and what an interesting mix of creatures come out to prey and play.

The script for Desert at Night is a blended mix of English and Spanish and the characters move fluidly between both languages. It is written in a way so that the story can be understood completely by native speakers of either language.

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

Black Sunday Theater

Black Sunday Theater

Immersive Story Theater
History Colorado “Living West” Exhibit, Denver, Colorado – 2013

Visitors enter a theater space depicting a 1930s house on the Colorado plains. Excerpts from oral histories and memoirs are used to narrate a story about the Black Sunday dust storm that engulfed the region on April 14, 1935. As the show progresses, visual effects out the window reproduce the giant dust cloud approaching the house until the space is overtaken by darkness. The combination of the visual effects with surround sound gives visitors the sense of actually being in the middle of the dust storm – so effective, some visitors thought we had pumped actual dust into the theater.

Award:
Mountain-Plains Museums Association Technology Award

Role:
Director, Editor, Visual Effect Adviser, Sound Designer, Media and System Design

Tornado Alley

Tornado Alley

Immersive Story Theater
Museum of Discovery, Little Rock, Arkansas – 2012

This experience recounts the 1999 tornado that tore through downtown Little Rock. Survivors recollect their experiences of the storm and its aftermath in this immersive basement environment. The voices are intercut with an archival television weather broadcast recorded on the night of the tornado. Surround sound audio and visual effects out the basement window give visitors the sensation of a tornado tearing apart the structure above.

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

This Must Be Hell

This Must Be Hell

Immersive Environment
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul – 2009

Visitors enter the fuselage of a real World War II era Douglas C-47 and are seated on the same bench paratroopers would have occupied during major invasions in the war. Using oral history excerpts from members of Minnesota’s greatest generation, a story about paratroopers preparing for and executing the D-Day jump on Normandy unfolds. Visitors are confronted with accounts of life and death during wartime.

An immersive 16-channel sound system, video projection, and visual effects outside the plane windows provide visitors with a realistic representation of an invasion. This Must Be Hell is the feature multimedia experience in the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit at the Minnesota History Center.

Award:
Silver, Multimedia Installations, 2010 American Association of Museums MUSE Award

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

Flour Tower

Flour Tower

Immersive Ride
Mill City Museum, Minneapolis – 2003

Audiences board a freight elevator and ride through eight floors of a recreated Minneapolis flour mill. Scenes on each floor come to life with working machinery, video projection, and immersive audio as the voices of actual millers tell their stories of working in the mills. Behind the scenes, a complex media system controls the experience, triggering 16 channels of matrixed audio, high-resolution video, theatrical lighting, industrial motors, and the elevator itself.

Award:
Jim Blackaby Ingenuity Award, 2004 American Association of Museums MUSE Award

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

Get to the Basement

Get to the Basement

Immersive Story Theater
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul – 2001

Survivors of the tornado that ripped through Fridley, Minnesota in 1965 recollect their experiences of the storm and its aftermath in this immersive basement environment. Multi-channel audio and visual effects out the basement window give visitors the sensation of a tornado tearing apart the structure above.

Award:
Award of Merit, 2002 American Association of Museums MUSE Award

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