Project team:

Client: The Museum of Science and
Industry, Chicago, Illinois/USA
Design architect and lead exhibit designers:
Evidence Design – Jack Pascarosa and Shari
Lighting design: Focus Lighting Inc. –
Paul Gregory, JR Krauza, Joshua Spitzig,
Dan Henry, Kenny Schutz
Project sponsors:
The Allstate Corporation, The Allstate
Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. David W.
Grainger, and The Grainger Foundation,
and the U.S. Department of Energy.

05. Oct 2011

The Wow effect
Science Storms at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago/USA

Text: Alison Ritter
Photos: courtesy of MSI, J.B.Spector, und JR Krauza

Apparently it would take anyone who can read four years to absorb all the information available in the Museum of Natural History in London. In the holiday season in particular people – many of them schoolchildren – queue for hours just to spend half a day inside wandering around the exhibits. Why do we do that? How much knowledge can we process or store in a few hours? When Focus Lighting was commissioned to design an immersive environment for the Science Storms exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, they probably asked themselves the same questions. How could they help teach museum visitors about the properties of light? The answer: Wow them into looking and playing so they will remember the experience and want to go deeper.

On March 18, 2010, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago unveiled Science Storms, an unprecedented and dramatic permanent exhibit in newly-named Allstate Court that reveals the extraordinary science behind some of nature’s most powerful and compelling phenomena-tornados, lightning, fire, tsunamis, sunlight, avalanches and atoms in motion. The vision of the museum is to inspire the inventive genius in everyone by presenting captivating and compelling experiences that are real and educational.
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) was founded in 1933 and has since celebrated more than 75 years of “inspiring the inventive genius” in more than 175 million guests. Below are some highlights of the amazing “hands-on” exhibits, experiences and memories that make MSI so unique. The idea of Science Storms is to make science understandable and present scientific knowledge in an easy manner. It was a completely new building with a total of almost 400,000 square feet of exhibit space.
A team of more than one hundred professionals – exhibit designers, audio-visual consultants, lighting designers, and fabricators to name a few – was pulled together by the exhibition designer, Evidence Design, to create the Science Storms exhibit.
The lighting designers from Focus Lighting were given the chance to both provide and receive constant input on all aspects of the Science Storms design and had direct and constant contact with the museum directors.
Focus presented 20 ideas for possible exhibits on light to the team. Out of these, three ideas were pinpointed which were eventually developed to become exhibits in Science Storms: […]

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 78.

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