Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

Piloting is a fun tool we use to develop exhibitions. What is piloting? It’s building and testing ideas out in a “quick and dirty” fashion. We want to know, are visitors interested in this idea? We also learn a lot by seeing how they interact with what we’ve made.

Three women work on crafts at a table.

We use cardboard, duct tape, markers and other craft supplies to rapidly build our pilots for testing. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

An adult and a child investigate a cardboard mock-up of an interactive.

Piloting is an iterative process. We observe visitors, gather feedback and tweak the pilot till we get answers to our questions. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

A cardboard mock-up of an interactive.

In this pilot, we’re trying out an idea that illustrates how a cougar’s tail can help with balance. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

A cardboard sign leans against a wall.

Here, we want to know what kind of questions visitors have for our animal keepers. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

The caribou (Rangifer tarandus) diorama with video projected on the back wall, and signs and a mobile computer taped to the front glass.

In this pilot, we were curious to see if visitors would be willing to record some personal stories about caribou. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

Recently, we had lots of fun developing pilots for an upcoming temporary exhibition that we’re all really excited about. Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence gave us a perfect excuse to play with light.

Two people are reflected in a mirror in a dark room; many objects glow in the dark. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

One of our Glow Stations as a pilot project. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

You can now see the results of these pilots in the numerous Glow Stations that we’ve placed around the museum. In them, you can become a “glow” graffiti artist, dress up in our glow-in-the-dark booth, and even observe real, live, bioluminescent creatures.

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One Response to Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

  1. Super cool! It’s fascinating to see how exhibits are developed.
    Nicole, we met this morning on the set of Daytime. I mentioned that some friends and I have a blog about museums, but I didn’t get the chance to give you the link. You can find it at http://museumdreams.blogspot.com . Sorry to be posting this here, but I couldn’t find an email address for you.
    Keep up the great work!

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