Partnering for Education:
20 Years in the Making
IntelliZeum to NatureZeum
Education Service Center Region 19 (ESC-19) in El Paso, Texas has been a client of Exhibit Concepts for more than 20 years. It all started back in 2003, when Exhibit Concepts partnered with ESC-19’s Head Start program to bring the IntelliZeum to life. At the time, it was the first Head Start interactive learning center in the United States. To this day, the unique facility still proudly serves more than 4,500 Head Start students annually in El Paso and Hudspeth counties.
In 2019, ESC-19‘s Head Start program approached Exhibit Concepts with a request to design and fabricate a new, nature-focused learning center. The facility, which was built from the ground up, is located 40 miles from the IntelliZeum in a rural part of ESC-19’s district, serving lower-income families.
Leaning on the fundamentals of Interpretative Planning, Exhibit Concepts put together a unique proposal for ESC-19. The plan called for a dual-zone approach, with a heavy emphasis on Exhibit Concepts’ NEXT Lab technologies and interactives.
The project aimed to embrace both the region’s culture and geography. It featured both a prelude and postlude storytelling element encompassing both experiences. The NatureZeum called on all aspects of the Exhibit Concepts team, from design and schematics within our creative department to content development and production from NEXT Lab and in-house fabrication work from our production shop.
“PECAN TREE THEATER”
When you enter the NatureZeum, you are greeted by a massive pecan tree, serving as a symbol of the state and region’s history. The tree not only shares tales of the past, but also lays the groundwork for future generations.
Exhibit Concepts’ NEXT Lab team not only handled the AV work for the project, but also wrote and edited the “Pecan Tree Theater” content.
The theater serves as a launching point for visiting school children. Whether they are taking “A HIKE IN NATURE” or “A TRIP ON A TRAIN,” the tree plants the seed for a day of learning.
“A HIKE IN NATURE”
After hearing the story of the Texas pecan tree, visitors become fully engrossed in west Texas’ natural surroundings. From the “Day/Night Theater” to “Living Wild!” to the “Nature Connection” and even the “Shrink-O-Matic,” children learn about the environments around them.
NEXT Lab pioneered the interactives in the “A HIKE IN NATURE” section and created and fabricated the “Shrink-o-Matic,” “Get Shrunk” and “Day/Night Tree Theater.”
From the rising and setting of the sun to the microscopic life of insects, no stone is left unturned as children discover the wonder that can be found in their own backyards.
“A TRIP ON A TRAIN”
The NatureZeum also goes beyond nature, introducing visitors to the world around us. Visitors can travel full steam ahead during “A TRIP ON A TRAIN.” The interactive embraces El Paso industrialization, from agriculture to renewable energy. Children are taught the past while getting a glimpse of the future.
NEXT Lab again played a pivotal role in developing the exhibits for the curriculum. It included the development of video content and bass-shaking technology for the “Traveling the Landscape” interactive and the implementation of kinetic bikes for the “Energy” display.
Building upon more than two decades of groundbreaking educational work, the NatureZeum is a testament to Exhibit Concepts’ dedication to long-lasting partnerships and commitment to future generations.
The work serves as proof of Exhibit Concepts’ expanding capabilities, from fine craftsmanship to professional design and immersive technologies.