Project: Windows On America Exhibit
Client: Ancona Associates / Oregon Historical Society
Project Phases: Design through Opening
Windows On America is an exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society that portrays the challenges of presidential leadership. Carefully acquired over more than fifty years, the Mark Family Collection, consisting of over 100 original documents and artifacts, focuses on American presidential leadership and major turning points in the history of the United States. Inspired by the ways in which these great leaders communicated their views, persuaded and cajoled others, and responded to crisis, the collection consists of documents, images, and objects that gives unique perspective to more than two centuries of American history. This multimedia exhibition opens windows into the hearts, minds, and councils of the most influential leaders of our nation.
Exhibit designer Tomas Ancona asked It’s Alive Co. to solve a couple of real technical challenges. Within the exhibit design, Mr. Ancona imagined floating images projected on mesh screens hanging just behind artifact uniforms on mannequin bodices. In essence, the uniforms blocked the ability to project with typical video projectors without making a shadow. On a different note, but just as important to the museum, it was desired to reuse as much audio and video equipment from their stock as possible.
It’s Alive Co. solved the projection issue by designing the AV systems using ultra-short throw video projectors, which have the ability to project a very steep down-angle – with no picture distortion. The AV integration was improved by combining all playback and control in a climate controlled backroom. Further, we minimized cost to the Owner by working into the AV systems design as much of the old stock as possible.
The Owner was delighted that we could give them a straight-forward equipment list that told them what they needed to buy, and what they needed to use from their used stock. In addition, the floating images of WWII behind the uniforms wowed the Portland audiences.
“I would highly recommend It’s Alive Co. as technical designers and consultants on any museum exhibit project” – Tomas Ancona, Owner of Ancona Associates
“It’s Alive Co. provided the necessary level of expertise, technical design skill and experience required to bring that project to fruition. I highly recommend It’s Alive Co. for the quality of their work and the cost-effect manner in which they delivered it” – Brian J. Carter, Museum Director, Oregon Historical Society