Building a Museum in Eight Months – Part 3

Design Kickoff Meeting – Putting our assumptions to the test and finding the right voice for the story This is the third article in a series about designing and building the Museum of Internal Auditing in eight months. The previous article explains how and why we developed an Exhibit Plan for the museum. This article is about how we started the design …

Building a Museum in Eight Months

First Meeting – Finding a reason why the world needs this museum When I first got the call from Judy Burke, VP of Governance for the Institute of Internal Auditors, I thought this was going to be a difficult process. She called me to set up a meeting to explore designing and building a museum about Internal Auditing. First, I …

Everyone Will Be a Hero

Summertime is a perfect time to visit a children’s museum. AST Exhibits recently completed designs for new exhibits in the Explorer’s Gallery at the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast. You can read more about the designs here: http://www.astexhibits.com/takers-to-givers/. One of the design goals was to make guests feel like they are something special, that they are heroes. We wanted guests …

Vitrines for Museum Exhibit Cases

Properly designed and executed exhibit cases will both protect your artifacts and allow your guests to see and appreciate them. They allow the artifact to connect your guests with your story and our shared past. While there are many factors that determine how well your cases perform at these tasks, we are going to focus on the glass or vitrines. …

Where the Arts are Alive

Music and Visual Arts Building at Austin College

Do you remember when you first experienced the arts as a living, breathing thing? I do. I was visiting Austin College in Sherman Texas as a high school student. I had been invited by the chairman of the music department to tour the campus. He took me on a tour through the music and visual arts building. What I saw and heard there …

How much for a hole?

Thousands of shells

One of the true joys of building museum exhibits is the wide range of things we get to design and build. In my 25 years of experience in this business, I have designed and built all kinds of fun and unusual objects and environments. Recently, I was asked to build something that gave even me reason to pause. A local history center …

Reliable, Trustworthy, and Full of Stories

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] There are objects that when you look at them and touch them, you can feel their history. They have transcended whatever materials they were made of and are now something more than the sum of their parts. They evoke a time now passed. They hold memories of countless experiences. You feel like you can just touch them and …

Backwards History: Leading with the Story to Bring the Holidays to Life

What the Dickens

A local museum, Art and History Museums Maitland, recently called us with an interesting project. They had committed to making the theme of their historic property representative of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” for the holiday season. They needed a material historian who specializes in the Victorian era. More specifically, they needed someone who was familiar with the period between 1844 …

Hiding In Plain Sight

Traveling and exploring new places offers opportunities to take in and appreciate cultural resources. It’s funny: When you are close to something and see it every day, you lose perspective on its value. It’s the “you can’t see the forest for the trees” thing, I think. We miss the treasures that sit right under our noses. I recently visited a …

That “Other” Exhibit

museum exhibit design

Everyone who works in a museum has a favorite exhibit. You know the one. It’s that exhibit that makes you smile when you walk past it. The one you brag about on Facebook. The exhibit you protect a little more by moving back the stanchions when the school groups come through. It’s the exhibit of which you are most proud. …

Design Kick-off for Children’s Museum

AST Exhibits of Orlando, Fla., will design two new exhibit areas in the Explorer’s Gallery at the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast in Jensen Beach, Fla. “Completing the gallery opens the museum to a whole new group of guests and unlimited possibilities for fun and learning,” said Scott Metelko, President and Founder of AST Exhibits. “The new gallery elements …

AST Exhibits Welcomes Marilee

AST Exhibits is excited to welcome Marilee Emerson to our team. Marilee rounds out our dynamic talent with her background in education, planning and client care.  Her skills as a relationship builder, facilitator and communicator make her an ideal addition to the team. As AST Exhibits’ Client Navigator, she will ensure our clients are informed and happy at every stage …

AST Exhibits Welcomes New Partner

Custom artifact case

AST Exhibits to fabricate, install custom display cases for the Wilton Manors Gallery for Stonewall National Museum & Archives July 2014- AST Exhibits of Orlando, Fla., will fabricate and install custom-designed artifact cases for Stonewall National Museum & Archives’ McNaught-Struble exhibit. “Stonewall Museum has an exciting opportunity to design the Wilton Manors Gallery space with the specific needs of its …

Ingenuity & Know-how Trump a Hostile Environment

Conservation framing

It is hard to imagine a worse environment for a special piece of original artwork than a restaurant, where it’s exposed to pollutants, harsh light, unstable temperatures and humidity, and even curious fingers. And yet … Art must be seen to be appreciated. Sometimes, that means taking the art to where the audience is. A private collector wrestling with this …

AST Exhibits Creates Western theme for Mennello Museum

Kiva fireplace in our studio. Fabrication complete and ready for installation.

The Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, Florida, relied on the skill of AST Exhibits when it came time to add additional interest to its galleries. Director Frank Holt wanted to add themed architectural elements to accentuate touring exhibitions that will feature the art of the American West this year.  AST Exhibits designed, fabricated and installed five elements to …

A Cooking Show in Reverse

While discussing a recent project I was asked to give “an insider’s peek into how a museum exhibit goes from concept to an interactive display”. Well, it is like a cooking show but in reverse. Instead of starting with a list of ingredients and a recipe, we start with a picture of the completed dish. It usually takes several meetings …

“I love it when a plan comes together.” – Colonel Hannibal Smith, The A-Team

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together!

  It only took us 10 days to install the new exhibits at the South Florida Science Museum. That is not a lot of time considering the scope and magnitude of these exhibits. Like any other endeavor, it was thorough planning that resulted in a successful execution. About five months were spent planning this install. That is two weeks planning …

Our Tallest Ladder is Only 12 Feet High.

The tallest building in NYC will soon become the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet! As the final pieces of the One World Trade Center building are being lifted into place today the city is celebrating. The last couple weeks of a project are an exciting time. We aren’t building anything as monumental as the new World …

Earth Day (4/22/2013) is almost here!

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your television for three hours. After we installed our last exhibition we took some time to clean up the shop. Instead of just filling the dumpster with all the scraps and leftovers from the job, we took some extra time and pulled out the recyclables. After two full days of sorting …

What happened to February?

Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Well, if that is the case, then we have been extremely busy “not working”. We “not worked” right through all the popular February Holidays. We missed Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Fat Tuesday, Valentine’s Day (sorry honey) and President’s Day. “Not …

Heavy Metal for the Müseum!

Last week was “metal week” at AST Exhibits. No, we weren’t blasting Motörhead in the shop or wearing spandex and leather. To be honest it really wasn’t even all that heavy. In fact, it was aluminum. Two weeks ago we started work on the custom aluminum railing for the South Florida Science Museum’s Science on a Sphere exhibit. Last week …

The New Year at AST Exhibits

It’s been a busy start to 2013 at AST Exhibits as we roll into the construction phase of the South Florida Science Museum project. Early last week Marc LeFrance joined the AST team as Lead Exhibit Carpenter for the SFSM project. Marc has an extensive background in all aspects of exhibit construction. His recent work includes exhibits for the Naples Depot Museum, Kennedy …

South Florida Science Museum Partners with AST Exhibits

AST Exhibits will fabricate and install exhibits for the 6,000 square foot addition to the aquarium and science museum. DECEMBER 2012 – The South Florida Science Museum recently selected AST Exhibits of Orlando, Florida to fabricate exhibits for the 6,000 foot expansion of their facility in West Palm Beach. The project will feature an expanded aquarium, an interactive Everglades adventure, …

Journey to the Center of the Office: Why is there spackle on the dog?

After staring at the same walls from the same desk for over a decade, the decision was made to rearrange the AST offices. First step was to sort through the shelves and cabinets. Somehow, over the years, our offices had become a Museum of Museum Exhibit Design. So, the plan was to fill the dumpster with outdated and meaningless stuff. …

Introducing AST Exhibits

AST Exhibits: No Story Left Untold

Prologue Like every good story, ours begins simply. It was always difficult to describe what we did for a living — one day we were carpenters, the next we were painters. Some days we were performers, others we designed lights. We had each fallen in love with the stage, but we didn’t harbor dreams of starring roles like a lot …

What is a Museum?

What is a musuem?

It seems today that in pushing the boundaries of immersive design and interactivity American museums are evolving into theatre. Some are even tossing aside the brick and mortar altogether. Merriam-Webster defines a museum as, “an institution devoted to the procurement, care, study, and display of objects of lasting interest or value; also: a place where objects are exhibited.” That definition …

Is having a compelling and well told story not enough anymore?

Is a compelling story not enough anymore?

As human beings with millennia of oral tradition behind us we have a thirst for a good story.  But we must distinguish between what a story is and how you tell it. I am an exhibit designer and builder with over 20 years experience.  I consider myself to be first a story teller.  I rely on my clients to write …