Staff member packing up exhibit components
Staff member packing up exhibit components

“Canada’s Waterscapes” is the name of the traveling water exhibit that was on display at the museum until this past weekend.  This exhibit is a branch of The Water Project which includes new school programming from the Education and Research departments as well as the brand new permanent Water Gallery currently being installed in the east wing of the museum. “Canada’s Waterscape’s” covers a wide range of topics including lakes, rivers, oceans, estuaries and stewardship, among others, which all contribute to the overall theme of how vast and varied water sources are in Canada. If you were lucky enough to see the exhibit while it was at the museum, I’m sure you noticed the live fish and frog aquarium that was included too!  This was an added bonus for the display at the Museum of Nature only.  Since this is an exhibit that travels, it would be too stressful on the live creatures to always be changing environments, and moving into new homes.  The frogs and fish that were on display will be moved to “Animalium”, the new section for creepy crawlers that opens in May!

Fish in the live specimens aquarium
Fish in the live specimens aquarium

Now that staff has packed the exhibit up, they will accompany it on the road to the Biosphere in Montreal and help set it up in its new location. After the exhibit’s stay in Montreal, it’s off to the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John!  The process of packing and shipping an exhibit like this is quite precise.  Care has to be taken to ensure that there won’t be any damage to the exhibit components, like the models of mini ecosystems, wildlife specimens, all the interpretive panels as well as all the hands-on components.  There is a lot to consider!  Ideally each component would have its own custom-fitted case, but this is very expensive so staff use a variety of packing materials like foam, felt and padding to ensure nothing gets scratched or damaged in any way.  This includes ensuring the cases are packed tightly, and the panels are wrapped up properly so there won’t be any damage from the vibrations on the road while it’s being shipped! This is another reason why staff members accompany the exhibits while they’re in transit; to minimize damage that could be caused by the shipping process. When designing a traveling exhibit, it is important to consider all of these factors so that the exhibit will not only be appealing and educational but also that it will durable and travel with ease!