Monday, April 8, 2019

Museum Elevators and Exhibit Design (Part 2)

I recently wrote a post about the underutilization of elevators for exhibit and graphic possibilities in museums.  Fortunately, ExhibiTricks readers responded with some nice examples which I'm happy to share below. 

Santa Cruz MAH (Museum of Art and History)

Nina Simon shared these thoughts about the "Screaming Hand" elevator wrap pictured at the top of this post: We LOVE using our elevator at the Santa Cruz MAH to shake things up and make people welcome. Our elevator always has two colorful chairs in it to invite people to sit. And a couple years ago, it became a living piece of Santa Cruz art and history with a wrap of the Screaming Hand (a worldwide skate icon started in our town). This photo of the interior of our elevator is our most liked Instagram post ever.

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College

Mix a creative, interdisciplinary, contemporary art museum with a huge freight elevator and you get the "Elevator Music" series at The Tang -- a set of curated installations in the Museum's freight elevator.  You can find out more by following this link. And here are a few representative images of "Elevator Music" below:

Elevator Music 35
Ephraim Asili: Jazz Salt

Elevator Music 33  Up = Out: A Sun Ra Mixtape

Tillamook Visitor Center

Judy Rand shared this elevator immersion experience from the Tillamook Visitor Center in Tillamook, Oregon. You can ride up to the Tillamook cheese factory floor overlook surrounded by cheese curds. It’s a way to give factory visitors a peek at what goes on inside all those tall, mysterious stainless steel vats. 

Cheese Curds Photo Credit: (c) KATU

Great Lakes Science Center 

When the Great Lakes Science Center hosted the traveling "Body Worlds" exhibition they gave visitors a great "sneak peek" of what they might expect to see.  Great use of inside/outside elevator graphics!

History Colorado Center

ExhibiTricks reader Abby Krause, the Design & Production Director at History Colorado in Denver, was kind enough to share these two images from a recent exhibition:

And if your museum has no elevators:

North Carolina Transportation Museum

Tyler Trahan, a Historical Interpreter/Educator at the Museum shares that while the Museum has no elevators, they've found another unexpected venue for interpretive content: the restrooms! They've put labels next to the sinks in each of four public restrooms discussing the toilets aboard either trains or airplanes. They match in Men's and Women's rooms at each location so visitors can share a "Guess what I found!" moment after exiting the restroom. 

I really love the idea of using those underutilized spaces in museums where our visitors aren't expecting a fun graphic or exhibit to pop-up!   I'm still collecting stories and images of the creative uses of museum elevators (and restrooms!) to put together into a free, shareable resource.

So if you've got images/descriptions you'd like to contribute, feel free to email them to me at

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