10 February 2008

USS Monitor Center - Newport News VA

The USS Monitor Center in Newport News is involved in a very longterm project: desalinating and restoring the remains of the historic Union vessel that was part of a critical Civil War encounter. The ironclad ship's turret and other portions were salvaged from the deep not long ago but they will remain in their stabilization tanks for years. In the meantime, the Maritime Museum has produced this first-rate educational guest experience which includes several replicas of the turret, numerous interactives and specialty theaters.

The Monitor Center has been given thumbs-up approval by diehard Civil War aficionados. I enjoyed writing up this remarkable project for Lighting & Sound America magazine and it has just been reprinted online at Blooloop. Click the title link to read it.

Jonathan Katz and the New Cal Academy of Sciences

The new California Academy of Sciences will open this fall in San Francisco. It has received a lot of media attention for its LEED certification, its living roof and world-class architectural design by Renzo Piano. When visitors get inside the new building and see the exhibits, they will discover that world-class design standards were also applied there. One of the designers who was in charge of creating several of the new exhibits is Jonathan Katz, CEO of Cinnabar (Los Angeles). Although passionate about museums and education, Katz isn't known primarily as a "museum designer" - a lot of his work has been in media production for the film industry and commercials.

This interview, titled "Collaborate, Design, Engage, Succeed!" conducted by Liucija Ambrosini, illustrates how Katz applied the same collaborative style he uses to create stellar media, to achieve great exhibit design and production for CAS, efficiently, innovatively, beautifully and within budget constraints.

Urso Chappell and Expo Museum

Urso Chappell is a world's fair enthusiast and a talented designer based in the San Francisco area. He is, appropriately, the graphic designer of The Expo Book, a book about the business side of world's fairs by Gordon Linden and Paul Creighton. I am editing The Expo Book and it is having its first appearance serially in six installments, in six consecutive issues of InPark magazine.

Architect magazine recently ran a short spotlight article about Urso and his excellent website, Expo Museum. Click on the title link to read it.