Design Science Synthesis —
Geology Mini-Museum

2013 – 2014

Earth’s history is literally written in stone. In these rocks, we can discover the remarkable story of the history of our planet. It is through geology that we can read into our past. In this exhibit, we explored the spheres of our Earth to help viewers gain insight into the relationships between them and their force in evolving our world over time.

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role

designer
1/7 project team members

objective
objective

Increase awareness of the importance of geology and communicate geological concepts, particuarly Ohio's regional geological history, in a compelling exhibit in the Science Center at the University of Dayton.

Background

Background

The hallways in the Science Center's Wohlleben Hall were uninspiring. The Department of Geology approached the Art and Design Department about an installation around the subject of geology. With the hallways transformed, students could be inspired to engage with the subject of geology as they travel from class to class. The mini-museum increases awareness of the importance of geology.

The hallways in the Science Center's Wohlleben Hall were uninspiring. The Department of Geology approached the Art and Design Department about an installation around the subject of geology. With the hallways transformed, students could be inspired to engage with the subject of geology as they travel from class to class. The mini-museum increases awareness of the importance of geology.

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Concept Map

In order to gain a better understanding of how the four spheres of the Earth (Atmosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere and Tectonosphere) interacted with one another during the Ordovician Period, I designed a concept map to organize the information in a logical and compelling way.

488 million years ago, the climate in Southwestern Ohio was much like the Bahamas as a result of plate tectonic movement forcing the area south of the equator. At that time, Dayton was underneath a warm shallow sea swimming with marine life. These animals were so abundant that their remains were preserved by the billions of rocks that formed at the bottom of this shallow ocean. The Ordovician strata exposed in southwestern Ohio contains some of the most fossiliferous rocks in the entire world.

In order to gain a better understanding of how the four spheres of the Earth (Atmosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere and Tectonosphere) interacted with one another during the Ordovician Period, I designed a concept map to organize the information in a logical and compelling way.

488 million years ago, the climate in Southwestern Ohio was much like the Bahamas as a result of plate tectonic movement forcing the area south of the equator. At that time, Dayton was underneath a warm shallow sea swimming with marine life. These animals were so abundant that their remains were preserved by the billions of rocks that formed at the bottom of this shallow ocean. The Ordovician strata exposed in southwestern Ohio contains some of the most fossiliferous rocks in the entire world.

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Designing the Exhibit

On the western wall, four panels explain the significance of the four Earth systems, or spheres, while another panel outlines the Ordovician Period and the value of geology.

The eastern wall features the impressive abundance of the Ordovician fossils that Ohio has to offer. The wall treatment alludes to the feeling of being submerged underwater, putting the specimen in their natural habitat.

The final piece of the exhibit features a detailed map of Ohio’s regional geology and includes a cast of the state fossil, the Isotelus Trilobite.

On the western wall, four panels explain the significance of the four Earth systems, or spheres, while another panel outlines the Ordovician Period and the value of geology.

The eastern wall features the impressive abundance of the Ordovician fossils that Ohio has to offer. The wall treatment alludes to the feeling of being submerged underwater, putting the specimen in their natural habitat.

The final piece of the exhibit features a detailed map of Ohio’s regional geology and includes a cast of the state fossil, the Isotelus Trilobite.

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This mini-museum’s fresh perspective on geology truly brings the subject matter to life. Not only will the installation start conversations on campus, but it will also invite students, staff, and visitors to come explore the new space. Students who are taking geology in order to fulfill a general education requirement may be inspired to take more geology classes or even major in the subject.

The images below are full-scale prototypes we created of the various aspects of the mini-museum and represent the final output of the Design Science Synthesis course.

This mini-museum’s fresh perspective on geology truly brings the subject matter to life. Not only will the installation start conversations on campus, but it will also invite students, staff, and visitors to come explore the new space. Students who are taking geology in order to fulfill a general education requirement may be inspired to take more geology classes or even major in the subject.

The images below are full-scale prototypes we created of the various aspects of the mini-museum and represent the final output of the Design Science Synthesis course.

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