The Kenneth Spencer Research Library

University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

The Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas is not a museum, though it has similarities in collections, access, conservation, etc. The Spencer is a library, though a specialized kind of library by virtue of it's primary sources collections. InterActive Group strove to design exhibits that focus on making these unique collections more visible. The exhibits foster an appreciation of the importance of primary sources to the advancement of knowledge, and by extension, the roles of writing, books, and other materials in the advancement. InterActive Group created a dynamic experience that connects visitors with the richness of human experience that connects visitors with the richness of human experience embodied in the library's collections, builds appreciation of the collections and the institution, and creates inspiration to learn more. 

Visitors at the museum can:

  • Learn about items covering 5,000 years of civilization. 
  • See how the university has developed over the last 150 years. 
  • Immerse in the bird books of John Gould and learn about how illustrations  were created in the 1800s. 
  • Listen to 20th Century authors discuss Science Fiction works and recite poems.

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum

Fremont, Ohio

Discover the life of Rutherford B. Hayes, his family, life in the Gilded Age, and the history of Fremont in the newly redone Hayes Presidential Center. InterActive Group's design puts a modernized spin on our nation's oldest presidential museum. Reopened on the centennial of the museum's launch in 1916, the reorganized museum combines an immense collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits to tell a more engaging story of the life and legacy of our 19th president. The new design draws visitors with hands-on displays and diary excerpts from President and First Lady Hayes to give a more personal touch.

Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in history as they:

  • See who's coming to dinner at the White House with interactive multimedia.
  • Discover if they could vote in the controversial election of 1876 with the "Right to Vote" exhibit. 
  • Explore what it would have been like to live in, work in, and visit an affluent home like Spiegel Grove with the large scale model of "19th Century Living".
  • Try on a soldier's backpack to experience what it was like to carry all the necessities. 

Watkins Museum of History

Lawrence, Kansas

In re-shaping its exhibit program, the Watkins Museum of History imagined visitors exploring the state’s turbulent abolitionist history and it’s struggle to realize a free society, while being inspired to get involved with today’s issues. InterActive Group created a county-focused visitor experience immersing visitors in the momentous events and people who made a difference in the years leading up to the Civil War… and after. Opened on the sesquicentennial of William Quantrill’s infamous guerrilla raid on Lawrence, this new permanent exhibit has seen four-fold increase in visitor attendance.

Visitors to this first of a planned two-phase exhibit experience can:

  • Step into a personal-sized theater and use their hands to navigate through the brutal 1863 raid on Lawrence by Quantrill’s Raiders.
  • Learn about the “Bleeding Kansas” struggle between abolitionists and pro-slavery forces in the Kansas-Missouri conflict before and during the Civil War.
  • Explore an interactive timeline of people in the county’s history who turned their passions into civic action.
  • Weigh in on today’s issues with an interactive website and see what other visitors think.

Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center

Galloway, Ohio

At the Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center, visitors learn in hands-on ways as they explore the extraordinary biodiversity of the Darby Creek Watershed. This flagship facility in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks system features state-of-the-art exhibits designed by InterActive Group educating visitors about the watershed, the animals and plants that call it home, and our role in maintaining its environmental quality.

At the heart of the center is a 60’ Living Stream exhibit designed and built by InterActive Group. The most advanced one of its kind in the world, this large scale freshwater aquatic exhibit is home to over 40 species of local animals and plants. The biology of the nearby Darby creeks is replicated and, in a first for this type of aquarium, requires no mechanical filtration.

Visitors explore aspects of scientific inquiry as they:

  • Get a multi-media “Big Picture” of the watershed, how scientists study it, and find out how to explore it on their own.
  • Take a “Closer Look” at specimens from the park with a high-powered video microscope.
  • Learn about the watershed’s habitats while using the steps in science inquiry.
  • Explore the cultures that have inhabited the park land for over 10,000 years.
  • Get their hands wet in the Living Stream, crawl into a themed beaver lodge, and get a fish’s perspective of the creek at an underwater viewing dome in the bed of the aquarium.

Mobility Assessment Simulator

Columbus, Ohio

When Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) planned their new facility for bus operations serving their disabled customers they turned to InterActive Group to design its state-of-the-art mobility assessment simulator. This advanced 3,000 square foot simulator helps COTA meet its federal disability mandates by providing a more effective qualifications process for their Mainstream paratransit riders.

Applying lessons learned in engaging museum visitors in sensory-based learning, InterActive Group's designers created an immersive experience that realistically recreates the conditions riders encounter using COTA's bus system. The simulator features a heavily modified bus with advanced visual effects and functioning systems to create realistic ride conditions. Audio and visual special effects, a working intersection and a photo mural streetscape enhance the realism as riders test their transit skills.

The new simulator creates the full range of environmental conditions that an individual may encounter while utilizing public transportation. As they guide customers through the simulator, COTA staff evaluate whether individuals can:

  • Make their way to a bus stop in a downtown setting
  • Recognize and board the correct bus
  • Interact with the driver and pay the fare
  • Recognize and exit the bus at the correct stop

Opened in the spring of 2011, the new assessment simulator is serving as a valuable tool for COTA to enhance its Mainstream service and is being studied by other transit authorities as they plan their own evaluation programs. As an added benefit, COTA is using the facility as a learning resource to teach new riders how to use the transit system.


Eddie G. Robinson Museum

Grambling, Louisiana

InterActive Group was honored to be able to make the new Eddie G. Robinson Museum on the campus of Grambling State University a reality for so many friends, family, former players and fans that wanted to pay tribute to a legendary coach and American. Growing up in a time when blacks could not even attend a college football game, many were skeptical of the young Robinson’s dream of coaching one day. Not only did he succeed in his dream, he became an important role model for the young black men on his team. His legacy continues, not only in the museum we created, but in the lives of each person he touched. 

InterActive Group, in collaboration with Exhibits, Etc., developed this hands-on museum, spanning the life and accomplishments of the legendary Coach Robinson. A former women’s gym on Grambling’s campus provided a unique location to house the memorial museum. In addition to exploring Coach Robinson’s unequaled reward on the field, visitors discover how Robinson was a coach in life as well. 

While you visit the Eddie G. Robinson Musuem:

  • Surround yourself in the events that shaped Eddie Robinson's life and outlook.
  • Watch Coach Robinson and President Jones' plan for Grambling football unfold into better than expected results.
  • Experience the truly entertaining Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band.
  • Meet the over-200 players Robinson sent to the NFL.
  • Discover the innovative ways Robinson gained recognition for Grambling.
  • Visit with Coach in his office.
  • Practice your football skills as Coach yells encouraging instruction.

See North Exploration Center

Petoskey, Michigan

SEE-North, a nationally recognized nature and science education organization, needed an engaging, hands-on learning facility to challenge visitors to become more involved in the area’s spectacular, but often fragile, natural environment. The result is the SEE-North Learning Center, featuring a series of innovative learning exhibits by the InterActive Group that engage curious visitors of all ages. 

These highly interactive exhibits are designed to demonstrate how scientific inquiry can be used as a powerful tool to better understand and appreciate nature’s wonders. The center’s strong educational context enhances SEE-North’s leadership position as a state-chartered math and science center for area schools. 

The story of how scientists interpret nature comes alive as visitors:

  • Learn the origin of Petoskey Stones and their distinctive six-sided appearance.
  • "Dig" through the geological history that shaped Michigan's landscape.
  • Investigate the natural habitats in their own backyards.
  • Become a "birder" to explore how scientists peer into nature's microscopic worlds.
  • Apply scientific inquiry through hands-on activities that teach about natural habitats. 
  • Get the inside story on the secret lives of creatures all around us.

 


North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum

Tofte, Minnesota

Starting in the mid-1800s Scandinavian immigrants settled along Lake Superior’s north shore and began fishing the lake in the same ways they had in their homelands. The North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum celebrates the heritage of these immigrants and the accomplishments of building communities in northern Minnesota’s harsh climate. 

InterActive Group was retained to extend the museum’s visitor experience with an interpretive walk along the lake’s shore. Working with staff and community, we developed a family of hands-on wayside exhibits to let visitors explore the lives and legacies of the area’s settlers and their connection to the lake. Being developed in phases, the Lake Walk introduces visitors to:

  • The fishing houses at the heart of the family-based fishing industry.
  • The fishing skiffs, nets and winders that were the tools of the trade.
  • The historic Tofte Dock and the steamships that connected isolated settlements and the outside world.
  • Lake Superior's harsh weather and marine life in its depths.
  • A day in the lives of the town's residents over a century ago.

Great Lakes Children's Museum

Traverse City, Michigan

Hands-on exhibits by the Interactive Group delight young visitors while teaching our relationship to the Great Lakes.

With innovative exhibits appealing to children ages two to ten, the museum is highly popular with family groups and school tours. The learning-based exhibits are designed to invite participation by visitors with disabilities. 

In this educational and fun setting, children can:

  • Pilot a Great Lakes freighter and start the diesel engine. 
  • Track weather conditions with live weather data.
  • Climb a lighthouse and operate the beacon.
  • Make waves and rain, shoot the rapids and pilot a boat through the locks at the water table.
  • Become a water droplet and climb, crawl and slide through nature's water cycle.
  • Simulate lightning and thunder and make real clouds.
  • Raise the sail on a Great Lakes sloop.
  • Navigate from the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean.

Waterloo Center for the Arts

Waterloo, Iowa

The Waterloo Center for the Arts has a recognized heritage of innovative art-based children’s programs. In developing the new Phelps Youth Pavilion the Center aimed for creating a unique children’s museum of the visual and performing arts. The result will be the Junior Art Galleries with innovative hands-on exhibits by the Interactive Group. 

Scheduled to open in mid-2007, new exhibit galleries will immerse young visitors in a range of hands-on activities exploring the visual and performing arts, architecture and the Center’s collections of Midwestern and Haitian art. Designed for children from 6 months to 12 years and their families, the two floors of exhibits will invite visitors to:

  • Drive a Haitian "tap tap" taxi and make steel drum music with their feet.
  • Develop motor skills while exploring fish and birds of the Caribbean.
  • Learn about the American painter Grant Wood and his art in a one-room schoolhouse like the one he attended.
  • Take a time machine journey back into history to explore cave painting, make an Egyptian cartouche and dig up art treasures.
  • Drive a climb-on tractor through "virtual worlds" in Grant Wood's paintings.
  • Build a small scale building and explore how architects design buildings.
  • Create their own self-portraits, stage puppet productions, curate their own art shows... and much more.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Jacksonville, Florida

At the Art Connections interactive gallery, visitors learn by doing as they explore fundamental concepts of creativity, art history and appreciation for the museum’s collection. Reproduced works from the museum enhance the exhibit learning experience and encourage visitors to explore the museum’s galleries. 

The innovative exhibits appeal to visitors of all ages and are popular with children, families, and adults. The gallery’s incorporation of state education standards creates unique partnership opportunities with school classes. The learning-based exhibit activities are designed to invite participation by visitors with disabilities.

In this informal educational setting visitors can:

  • Digitally create a large-scale painting while composing music.
  • Learn the rich history of the museum and its gardens.
  • Walk through an interactive timeline of creativity in the arts.
  • Mix paint colors at an interactive color wheel.
  • Make rubbings with elements drawn from the museum's collection.

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center

Denton, Nebraska

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center is an 808-acre tallgrass prairie nature preserve located in Nebraska. InterActive Group worked with the center to develop a visitor experience that enlivens visitor senses, connects them to the unique tallgrass prairie, and inspires them to engage with the natural world. The center also wanted to move beyond the typical strategy of static displays and dioramas common in nature centers. To realize that vision, InterActive Group has developed a hands-on exhibit experience to tell the story of the tallgrass prairie through the perspectives of the people and creatures who live there. Exhibit areas include:

  • Conserving, Interpreting, Living On, Studying, and Discovering the Prairie
  • The historical perspective, including wagon ruts leftover from the Oregon Trail
  • Orientation experience with interactive maps
  • Kids learning zone

All exhibits were designed to be as "green" as possible, making extensive use of sustainable materials, energy-efficient components, and low-polluting paints and finishes.


Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Kalamazoo, Michigan

When the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts planned a major expansion of it's 1950s building it wanted an innovative hands-on learning experience for its visitors. Working closely with the institute's staff of educators and curators, InterActive Group developed ARTworks, a new interactive gallery and exhibits to engage visitors in cutting edge sensory-based learning. The institute's highly regarded art collection became the inspiration for a series of family-based exhibit activities that put visitors in the role of the artist to explore fundamental themes in creativity. Visitors of all ages engage in discovery-based learning in a visitor-friendly setting to explore themes ranging from the patterns in KIA's collection of quilts to the large-scale approach to color field painting on oversized canvases. Museum attendance rose sharply after opening with many visitors singling out ARTworks as a reason for visiting. 


Nolan Hoof Health

Columbus, Ohio

As the developer of an innovative product, the Nolan Hoof Plate, to treat the debilitating equine hoof condition of laminitis, Nolan Hoof Health knew it needed equally innovative ways to reach potential customers. Nolan turned to InterActive Group to design a groundbreaking trade show experience that goes beyond the expected.

Bringing a museum-quality experience to a trade show setting, the Nolan Hoof Health customer learning zone combines in a lightweight and compact one hundred square foot booth:

  • an eye-catching graphic introduction and welcome area
  • an intro to the problems of equine hoof disease
  • a compact theater with immersive presentation of hoof health problems and how the company can help
  • an interactive learning station with video demonstrations keyed to visitors physically handling the product as they follow how it's used - a direct, hands-on way to communicate its advantages
  • two information and sales stations where visitors can learn more and order online

The booth is used in a variety of trade show settings and can be easily reconfigured for different venues.


Steelyard Heritage Center

Cleveland, Ohio

Located at Cleveland's new Steelyard Commons retail development, the Steelyard Heritage Center provides a dynamic cultural experience for shoppers and visitors to the nearby Towpath. The center features hands-on exhibits developed by InterActive Group that invite visitors to explore the area's rich steel heritage. 

The exhibits in the renovated former mill building will tell the history of steelmaking in Cleveland and give a hands-on introduction to how steel is mode and turned into the familiar products we use everyday. 

Drawing on archives at the Western Reserve Historical Society and actual mill artifacts, the exhibits engage visitors with:

  • How raw iron ore is turned into finished twenty-ton rolls of steel.
  • Immersive video and special effects illustrating the sights and sounds of steelmaking.
  • Interactively mixing iron's ingredients in a giant blast furnace at "It's All in the Recipe."
  • A panoramic look at steelmaking in Cleveland then and now.
  • "Did You Know?", which takes a fun look at everyday products made with rolled steel.