An Exhibit that Teases You For a Closer Look

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I’ve just returned from Yellowstone National Park–the nation’s first–and while I have much to share on my experiences from my visit, I wanted to start with an exhibit that teases you to take a closer look.  In the new visitor education center at Old Faithful Geyser, you’ll find a diorama of a hot spring as the centerpiece of the exhibit gallery.  It would be easy to just point out the blue waters of the hot spring or the coyote nearby, but several flipbooks on the railing encourage you to “Look Closely” with the words, “Life abounds in Yellowstone’s hydrothermal areas.  How many things can you find here that are evidence of plants, animals, or other life?”  Rather than just put the answers on the next page, they first say, “No peeking! (Not until you’re ready)” and then offers a hint.  It’s an alternative approach to the usual two-page flipbook.  It encourages readers to take more time to explore the question before jumping to the answer by adding an intermediate page .  If you are working with multiple languages, you’ll be interested in how they integrated them on each panel (I may do another post on this later because they’re handling five languages!).

The flipbooks are in remarkably good shape considering the millions of people that visit the park each year.  They’ve been in place for about three years, and the labels are mounted on laminate with full bronze hinges.  These aren’t going anyplace and can take lots of handling from visitors.  My visit was brief so I couldn’t measure how effective they are, but it does offer a new approach to the traditional flipbook.  If you’d like more information, contact Christopher Chadbourne (he’s a professional photographer who also does exhibit design) and Pacific Design Studio (who did the fabrication).

2 thoughts on “An Exhibit that Teases You For a Closer Look

  1. museumsaskew

    As someone who works in English and German, and does translations between the two, I love that I see well-written text in both languages. It seems like such a simple and obvious thing to do, but I’m amazed at how often I see inaccurate or sub-par translations. Very cool.


  2. Bob Beatty

    Max, this is good stuff. I am always intrigued at ways that institutions use these relatively low tech interactives (and sometimes wonder why we’ve gotten away from them when they are more than moderately successful).

    Here is a photo I took of one that I found particularly good t the Louisville Slugger Museum


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