The Bering Sea: Abundance and Change

Topic: Life Sciences Subtopic: Other

Case Study

of an Exhibition

by Beth Redmond-Jones

Published on May 17, 2007, Modified on May 17, 2007

  • Description and goals

    In collaboration with the Alaska SeaLife Center, Redmond-Jones & Associates developed and designed the permanent exhibition Bering Sea: Abundance and Change. The exhibition introduces visitors to the Bering Sea—the animals, people, industry, and physical aspects that make this region so abundant. Visitors then explore current scientific research into environmental changes in the Bering Sea and the many ways these changes impact animals and humans around the world.

  • Development process and challenges

    We had several challenges with this project.
    1. The project originally started out focusing on regime shift in the Bering Sea. After some front-end evaluation with Alaskan residents, we found out a few things:
    a. they didn’t know what regime shift was
    b. they didn’t know where the Bering Sea was
    c. they didn’t know what industry occured or what animals lived in the Bering Sea.

    This made the team reassess the exhibition goals and redefine them. As a result of the evaluation, we knew that we had to expand the exhibition to allow visitors to meet the people and animals of the Bering Sea so they would have a better understanding of the changes that were taking place.

    2. Another challenge was installing the exhibition. We were scheduled to install the exhibition in February in Seward, Alaska which is 3 hours south of Anchorage (in the middle of winter with the potential of lots of snow falling). In other words, no Home Depot or Lowes anywhere close by to make a last minute hardware run. The exhibition was built by Pacific Studio and they did an great job and figuring out exactly what we would need for every aspect of the installation. And as a result, we didn’t even need to think about making a last minute hardware run.

    3. One of our exhibits was a giant magnetic puzzle. It took a lot of R&D to find the correct magnetics. We knew they were going to wear out quickly given our research, so we fabricated 12 sets, so the Alaska SeaLife Center would have plenty of backups.

    4. Another challenge was adding in live animals to a science exhibit. We addressed this by having two tanks in the exhibition. The first was at the beginning of the exhibition and it would hold schooling species found in the Bering Sea. The second was half way through the exhibition and it showed larger species that are fished in the Bering Sea, such as pollock and king crab.

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

    Lessons learned:
    1. If we hadn’t talked to visitors, we would have created an exhibition that would not have been relevant to visitors.
    2. The biggest mistake we made was going with a new photo production house. The photographs arrived and we installed them. Within days, all of the photos were peeling away from their substrate that the vendor had applied to the photos. We finally got replacement photos, but the biggest lesson I learned is go with who you know, even if it does cost more.

  • Exhibition Opened: April 2003

  • Exhibition Still Open!

  • Traveling Exhibition: No

  • Location: Seward, AK, United States

  • Estimated Cost: $100,000 to $500,000 (US)

  • Size: 3,000 to 5,000

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