I'm postponing my previously schedule Bio. pt2. blog post for this weekend due to some unexpected news / realizations. I recently found out that the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA opened their newest 6,000 square foot exhibition Make Software, Change the World! If you haven't been to the CHM I highly recommend it if you're in the area, and not just because of my past personal connection to other exhibits there. Second, this upcoming week marks a professional anniversary for me - coming up on 18 years of exhibition planning and design. I have over a decade of involvement in CHM exhibits and decided to dig through the archives...
I had the pleasure of being a member of the creative team that was responsible for many CHM exhibits that came before their latest opening. Before the museum found its’ permanent home in Silicon Valley there were design studies for a new building, one of my favorite ideas was a version where the “timeline” exhibit spanned multiple floors and was partially visible from the exterior as artifact silhouettes.
9 years before the permanent exhibit Revolution, The First 2,000 Years of Computing would open my role in the creative team was generating fundraising renderings for the various planned exhibits. This first round of Timeline exhibit concept design renderings were done in 2002.
I got to do a lot of renderings for the CHM over those 9 years. There was an exhibit dedicated to tracking the fundraising efforts for the Timeline exhibit, a temporary visible storage exhibit (which was located where the new software exhibit is), and a chess exhibit which was where the current smart car exhibit is. For the fundraising tracking exhibit I came up with the idea of using stacked compact discs as an method of visually displaying progress - an alternative to typical “thermometer” visuals in similar kinds of exhibits.
In addition to exhibit renderings I got to conceptualize and implement donor recognition systems and some early gift shop conceptualization, but I'm going to save those for another post. As part of the design team I worked on several galleries of the Revolution exhibit through all design phases, and was heavily involved in production design for all galleries. In addition I generated a large amount of renderings towards the end of design phases to help gallery benefactors visualize how their contributions would be recognized.
Seeing all these renderings generated at different times in one place is interesting. That one guy in the red shirt really gets around! To see how the exhibit renderings compare to the finished product check out the images of the final exhibit at the link below:
Seeing the permanent exhibit through production design and attending the opening was highlight for me in early 2011 coming just a week after seeing another 25,000 square foot exhibit open for Sony electronics at CES 2011 in Las Vega, Nevada.. After Revolution my contributions to CHM's ongoing exhibits was very minimal providing rendering and video production support only.
My personal involvement in the new software exhibit at CHM is possibly the least I've been involved in any of their exhibitions. At one point I created a study model 3D fly-through in SketchUp and edited the video to include the principal designer's renderings into something to help the museum board visualize the exhibit. Pieces of this fly-through are included in my video sample on the Education page of my website. I was pleasantly surprised watching the below lined video from museum that the overall vision for those exhibits remaining consistent. Again, if you get the chance to go check this museum out, it's really was really a unique experience for me to see technology toys I played with as a child like "Speak 'n Spell" and Atari in a museum exhibit that starts with Abaci and quickly divulges into how intensely the first 2 world wars catapulted computer development and how that relates to how we live today...
Below is a video tour the museum put together for the new exhibit - enjoy. Two weeks from now I'll be back