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Design Your Own Exhibit

Some of our members come back year after year for our exhibits. They’re a big part of what we do – the Coal Mine has been around since day one.  But maybe you've looked at our spectacular exhibits and thought, “I could come up with something like that.” 

Some of our members have shared their ideas for doing just that. And our staff curators and exhibit developers reviewed these ideas and added comments of their own.

Alfonso de las Cuevas (Chicago, IL)

What is your exhibit's name?

Beach moments

What is your exhibit's topic?

Great memories by the beach.

What will be the highlight of your exhibit?

How joyful beach can be to everyone.

Commentary from Olivia Castellini, PhD, Senior Exhibit Developer and Kristen Witte, PhD, Exhibit Content and Research Specialist:

Thanks for submitting your “Beach Moments” exhibit idea. The idea is relatable to a wide audience and has a great emotional element while leaving open the exploration for science – you can take it any direction you’d like! Some science ties that immediately come to mind: 

What causes some beach days to be especially wavey?  
(science peek: it’s wind blowing across the top of the water!) 

Why does a dip in the water cool our bodies down?  
(science peek: evaporation pulls heat from our bodies!) 

Alternatively, you could stick closer to the emotional experience of the beach. A few recent studies have shown that the beach is one of the best places to alleviate stress, allowing us to decompress and recharge. Add a fun-filled family day to picture, and you’ve got a great initial idea for an exhibit! For some added inspiration, check out this exhibit installation from the National Building Museum.

Ronald Monsen (Naperville, IL)

What is your exhibit's name?

Homemade Flight Simulator

What is your exhibit's topic?

To make a homemade flight simulator that closely simulates an actual airplane. The panel layout, hardware, software, and all operations are simulated to reproduce as closely as possible the flight dynamics and instrument operations of my own Cessna 182.

What will be the highlight of your exhibit?

To show actual aircraft flight alongside the flight simulator. A video(s) will show how closely the simulation follows the actual aircraft performance.

Commentary from John Llewellyn, Creative Lead:

In terms of exhibit design, Mr. Monsen is clearly on the right track. The Homemade Flight Simulator shows a real attention to research, and a passion for creating an “equivalent experience.” It’s great to see that Mr. Monsen has his subject matter close at hand: the simulator appears to be literally under the wing of the Cessna aircraft he’s simulating!

Whenever we design an exhibition, we try to pay as much attention as possible to the artifact. For example, we’re redefining the Take Flight exhibition and I go downstairs to measure, photograph and examine our Boeing 727 every day. Mr. Monsen has it even better- he’s got the plane right in his office/workshop/hangar.

I can imagine why Mr. Monsen created the simulator, even though he appears to have an actual plane. The sim is good for practicing and training student pilots and beginners for real flights, plus he can “fly” even on days with bad weather. With that big screen, I’m sure it’s almost like the real thing. Great job, Mr. Monsen!