Giant Tortoises and Museum 2.0: Cinnabar Installation Diary

Wea��re now completing installation of exhibits on the east side of the Kimball Museum of Natural History at the new California Academy of Sciences in San Franciscoa��s Golden Gate Park. Those exhibits include a�?Islands of Evolution, a�? some 10, 000 square feet of displays illustrating Academy research expeditions to GalA?pagos and Madagascar, while explaining key concepts about evolution and biodiversity.

writes Jonathan Katz

We’re installing specimens and putting up tortoise shells on the Galápagos wall.

The expectation is that our team will finish up this portion of the installation by the weekend and then turn our full attention to setting up the 10, 000 square feet of California exhibits at the other end of the hall, in the west gallery. We have begun putting in the main structures there already. “Altered State” is the official name and the theme running through these California exhibits is climate change, and the specific ways in which it affects the state of California. Altered State spells out some of the consequences in terms of habitat, agriculture, recreation, tourism and livability – and also shows what people can do about it.

Climate change doesn’t have a fixed outcome – what we do as individuals and as a community will affect the next part of the story. It was, therefore, important to design and produce “Altered State” as an active, participatory guest experience. We applied “Museum 2.0” principles of information design, presenting the material in browsable layers, inviting the visitor to become part of the conversation and showcasing some user-generated content. This helps the issue to become real in terms of people’s daily lives – the choices we make – and how we perceive California.

Special acknowledgement to team members Mindy Lipschulz (media producer) and Volume Inc. (information design). Photos: Cinnabar

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