Three dimensional representations of the exhibit spaces and features (i.e. artifacts, furniture, interactive stations, wall panels, etc.) not only help the exhibits team to determine an exhibit’s layout, but also give us the chance to imagine new features and evaluate problems that weren’t visible in two dimensions. These types of models can also allow both museum staff and potential sponsors to have a sneak preview of an upcoming exhibit, helping to build enthusiasm before it even opens.
After finishing the East Gallery space in the last post, I began making all of the furniture for the Build! Frontiers exhibit. Unlike past exhibits when we built the components ourselves, the museum purchased many of the furniture items for the new exhibit. So, I had to work from schematics instead of physical pieces.
When I make exhibit models, my main goal is to accurately represent the basic look of a feature and the space it takes up (its “footprint”). So, I often have to grapple with the issue of space versus look. I could spend hours sculpting a model of an exhibit feature to look exactly how it looks in real life. Or, I could spend ten minutes making a rectangle that isn’t as perfect visually but represents the exact space the feature takes up. It’s a delicate balance. For most of these pieces, I decided to skimp on the artistry in favor of dimensions. But, I added wooden circles and a layer of paint to add a bit of visual interest and realism.
Following the steps as the East Gallery model (See Part 1), I started by noting and converting all the measurements using the 1 foot to 1 inch (or 12 inches to 1 inch) ratio. Then, I wrote the new measurements next to the old ones.
I traced out each part of the racetrack onto a piece of ¼” thick foam board. It required two tapered 17 ¾” pieces for the red sides, a 15” by 2 ¾ ” piece and a 2 ¾ ” square piece for the black top part. After cutting each piece out, I quickly assembled and glued them together. Then, I cut and assembled the rest of the pieces on the schematics. Museum Volunteer Tym Lynch added a bit of pizazz with a layer of paint on each one (pictured) and I painted some wooden circles to represent buckets of toy bricks that will be put into a few of the exhibit tables. All painted and dry, the modeled pieces were ready to take their places in the East Gallery Model.
Of course, plans change and all of these pieces move. So, the best way to see what we have planned is to see for yourself at our new exhibit Build! Frontiers opening June 6th, 2015. For more details or to book tours, please see the exhibits page of the website or call (970)350-9220.
We look forward to seeing you!
**Note: Since this post was written, the exhibits team has updated to Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software. We’ve started creating the exhibit layouts virtually! Stay tuned for more exciting updates.
Written by Holly Berg, Greeley Museums Assistant Exhibits Curator