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Erie's History

In 2013, the Erie County Historical Society launched a capital campaign with the goal to consolidate operations and its collection onto one campus. Because the organization would be selling off the building that housed the exhibits, a historic mansion would now function as a museum and house the exhibits. I was hired as a consultant to convert nine rooms to exhibit galleries.

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Discovery

My work for this phase spanned the three roles (designer, content developer and project manager). I spent this time focusing on learning the history and talking with subject matter experts, understanding community needs with visitor surveys and meetings with community leaders, and understanding the design constraints first by assessing the state of the rooms and planning the work required to convert them into galleries.


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Design

Moving into design, I worked with museum staff to assign themes to the galleries and focus the messages of the galleries. I continued to identify objects and build out the narratives for the galleries. From this framework, I created schematic designs and ended this phase with a presentation to the board.


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Preserve

The mansion was well-loved but looked worn from almost a century of private and public use. And the painted ceilings showed the worst damage. From years of heating and cooling later attempts at repairs by novices began cracking and flaking. In other rooms, soot still covered the paint, from the decades before electricity when lanterns were used to light the home.

I brought in a conservator to assess the damage and develop a     plan for mitigating some of the problems. Later we held a day-long workshop were staff and volunteers practiced cleaning and restoring the ceilings.

 

 

 


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Final Designs

With the final list of objects, a robust asset log and vetted designs.      I handed over the final designs to the fabricator and incoming project manager to finalize the exhibition. The new galleries opened August of 2015 along with the new campus and collections building.