Museum Interactive Exhibits and Technology at Birch Aquarium and Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Brett Stalbaum

Museum Interactive Exhibits and Technology at Birch Aquarium and Scripps Institute of Oceanography

This Practicum focuses on discovery, exploration, experimentation, and innovation. Students will engage in new ways to explore art, science, and technology as they collaborate with an interdisciplinary research team at the world-renowned Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in a groundbreaking initiative that will make the museum more interactive and exciting! Scripps' new project, “The Expedition!” will extend over a two-year period. The Expedition!, a highly interactive exhibit, will feature an expedition staging area, a polar habitat, a laboratory similar to those on Scripps’ vessels, and instruments that are used across varied lands, down deep in the seas and high up in the air.

The mission of the aquarium is to educate, but to do so in an engaging and entertaining way that captures the imagination and inspires, while simultaneously conveying the core scientific mission of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This is not easy. Culturally, there exists a fairly stable “science museum” aesthetic, a sensibility about the design of everything from information to interaction within the space of the museum, or the special kind of museum that an aquarium is. Birch Aquarium at Scripps–a forward-thinking organization who will be your client–wants to explore alternatives or extensions to the present “science museum” style. The aquarium wants to think about new possibilities for what a trip to the aquarium might become, to ideate about what it could be that it is currently not. The job of speculative designers is working directly and collaboratively with Scripps Institution of Oceanography staff, listening to their concerns, problems, and creative ideas, and then adding to those and realizing plans and prototypes of those future exhibits. The deliverables will be a portfolio of various designs realized as prototype displays, a collection of ideas for the near future of the aquarium that may or may not be implemented. Although, the opportunity certainly exists for exceptional—and practical—prototypes to go on temporary display to the public in the aquarium!

Products to work on include experimental gallery spaces, hands-on demonstrations of sensors and gear, connection to particular current research expeditions through creative means, interaction with equipment used in ocean science, informational displays that invite play, artworks driven by mission data, multi-tile high-resolution displays, performances, and, really, any interesting gallery experience for visitors that furthers the mission of the aquarium.


Virtual Advising:

Available through

Walk-In Advising:

Held in the Sixth College Annex.

Monday and Wednesday: 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Spring 2017