Mary Stedman Exploration Hall

Topic: Other Subtopic: General

Case Study

of an Exhibition

by elgin cleckley

Published on September 08, 2009, Modified on October 07, 2009

  • Description and goals

    The Ontario Science Centre was chosen to produce several exhibits for the Mary Stedman Exploration Hall at Royal Botanical Gardens Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. The exhibits line a colonnade filled with skylights, leading to an large, airy atrium. Through this atrium, access to a new public space for special exhibitions (the Camilla and Peter Daglish Atrium) is provided as well as barrier free access to the gardens beyond.

    The exhibits were developed in 4 various zones created by the project team at Royal Botanical Gardens, setting up the sequence for content and experience in the colonnade. They are follows: Zone 1 for Visitor Orientation, Zone 2 People, Plants, and Nature at Royal Botanical Gardens, Zone 3 Biodiversity, and Zone 4 Call to Action.

  • Development process and challenges

    Early planning of the “Hive” proved to be quite the challenge. The existing architecture of the space in the Atrium required a form to direct visitors to the new Camilla and Peter Daglish Atrium on a right angle, or straight ahead to other garden areas. It also had to hold the attention of visitors for a while, in order to cover three topic areas on Biodiversity of the site.

    Defining what native species are also proved to be difficult during content discussions.

    Working in tandem with Royal Botanical Gardens at all levels of the project from early thematic discussions, creative concept reports, defined content integration and design development reviews helped define how the exhibits would represent the 4 Zones best. Interactive prototyping and material selections geared to the space produced exhibits that represented the intentions of the client in a new and informative way for visitors.

  • Lessons learned, mistakes we made (and what we did about them)

    Several screens in the “Hive” are hard to see with the existing bright sunlight of the Mary Stedman Exploration Hall. Similar problems occur on the Orientation Map exhibit, where areas on the map that light up have similar visual problems due to the light in the space. Suggestions will be given to RBG for how to maximize visibility issues.

    On the other hand, the light in the colonnade plays very well with the selected materials that play with translucency and transparency.

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