Creating Visitor-Centered Museum Experiences

We’re heading to Grand Rapids to present a session at the Association of Midwest Museums conference on the design and execution challenges in creating the American Writers Museum (AWM), an award-winning Chicago museum that opened in May 2017.

The conference runs from October 2-5—and our session is on Thursday, October 3rd.  

Creating a new museum—from theory to design to execution—doesn’t just happen. As anyone who’s been on an exhibit development team knows too well, it’s an organic and circuitous process that includes lots of discussion and collaboration.  

One of the biggest challenges that the development team met immediately was how to create a content-driven museum that has few permanent artifacts. Amaze Design, a Boston design firm, and Chicago Scenic Studios worked closely together in a design-build relationship to develop the museum content which is presented almost exclusively through interactive exhibits.  

Our conference session, co-presented by Chicago Scenic’s VP and General Manager Brian Stockmaster and AWM’s president, Cary Cranston, will feature video, conversation, and many informative photographs, and attendees will meet members of the museum development team and learn about:  

  • the challenges and conversations the team had as they transformed content into interactive exhibits
  • the importance of choosing the right material for the exhibit  
  • how material choices can affect budgets—often in a good way—and that sometimes the best choice is the simplest one
  • why testing is crucial to the successful development of reliable and repeatable interactive exhibits
  • how the AWM museum staff employs changing exhibits to keep guests interested and returning again and again. 

If you’re going to AMM, join us for our breakout session on Thursday, October 4 from 2:45 pm–4 pm—the session is called: “Visitor-Centered American Writers Museum: Engaging Visitors with Unique Interactive Exhibits and Inventive Storytelling—vs. Permanent Artifacts and First Editions”. 

Bio notes: Cary Cranston joined AWM as President in 2016 after serving 12 years as President of Fox College, a private career college In Chicago. Brian Stockmaster has worked at Chicago Scenic for 13 years, most recently as VP, General Manager.

His fabrication projects range from building props for Broadway musicals to managing builds for scenery, exhibits, and themed interior finishes for clients as varied as ESPN, Chicago Bears, CNN, Ford, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and President Obama.


Creating Visitor-Centered Museum Experiences