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Course Number: AQS 252
Course Title: Exhibits and Interpretation
Credit Hours: 4
Lecture Hours: 30
Lecture/Lab Hours: 20
Lab Hours: 0
Special Fee: none

Course Description

Introduces the principles of exhibit development and interpretive presentations. Covers projects in exhibit planning, performing interpretive presentations,
and writing interpretive pieces. Emphasizes the process of developing exhibits and interpretation from conceptual statement through fabrication, performance, or publication. Prerequisite: AQS 215 or consent of instructor.

Intended Outcomes for the Course

  1. Serve as a contributing member of an exhibit planning team, supporting the process of creating an exhibit and the roles of others on the team.
  2. Apply the principles of interpretation to the programs that husbandry staff are frequently asked to perform.
  3. Identify criteria, considerations and components for the design and implementation of aquarium tanks, lighting, interior tank habitats, and live animal collections.
  4. Write effective interpretive material for exhibits, newsletters, and brochures.
  5. Describe what makes an effective exhibit, and evaluate exhibits and interpretation using industry standard criteria.
  6. Apply industry related information resources to the design and development of aquarium exhibits and interpretation.

Course Activities and Design

The format for this course is a combination of lecture, demonstration, and project experience to provide necessary skills in how to properly plan and design effective aquarium exhibits and interpretation. Instruction will be based at the OCCC Central Campus and will utilize the Aquarium Science Building. Field trips to local and regional public aquarium/zoo facilities will be included.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participation in classroom activities and discussions that utilize exhibit development tools and techniques.
  • Team term project utilizing information resources and tools for the development and design of a theoretical aquarium exhibit which includes the creation of a three dimensional scale model of the proposed exhibit concept.
  • Delivery of a public oral interpretive presentation on an exhibit topic related to the term project.
  • Scheduled quizzes and examinations to evaluate knowledge of standard industry criteria used in the design, development, planning, execution and evaluation of exhibits and interpretation.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Principles of design, development, planning and evaluation of aquarium exhibits and interpretive programs.
  • Tools and components for the development and construction of effective aquarium exhibits.
  • Exhibit design and development project teams.
  • Learning styles, preferences, needs and types of audiences visiting aquariums.
  • Development of aquarium exhibits for education, entertainment, and motivation of audiences.
  • Style, technique and delivery of effective interpretive programs and presentations for the public.
  • Identification and differentiation of aquarium exhibit types; collections-based, interactive, immersive, permanent or temporary.
  • Exploration of team dynamics including the roles and responsibilities of the exhibit design and development team.
  • Role of animal husbandry staff in the exhibit and interpretation design and development process.
  • Relationship between schedule, cost and goals for an aquarium exhibit project.
  • Criteria and considerations for effective exhibit design, development and implementation.
  • Development of concepts, themes, messages, objectives, narratives and evaluations for exhibits and interpretive programs.
  • Identification and selection of tools, materials and components for the design and construction of aquarium exhibits, interactive items, graphics, and interpretive elements.
  • Consideration and criteria for components used in the design and implementation of aquarium tanks, lighting, interior tank habitats, and live animal collections.
  • Exploration of learning styles and special needs in formal and informal education settings within public aquariums, zoos, nature centers and museums.
  • Principles and techniques of connecting an audience with exhibits through motivation, provocation, interaction and interpretive programming.
  • Impact of schedule and cost on exhibit design, development and implementation.
  • Working with members of a team to accomplish a common goal from distinct individual roles.
  • Permits, laws and regulatory agencies that influence exhibit projects.
  • Meeting special needs and requirements for diverse audiences.
  • Identify types of aquarium exhibits and utilize proper terminology for their development.
  • Communicate, coordinate and work as an effective member of an exhibit design team.
  • Develop a concept statement for an aquarium exhibit idea.
  • Create a component script and narrative for a proposed aquarium exhibit.
  • Differentiate between circulation, way-finding and orientation in exhibit design.
  • Develop a live animal collection plan and husbandry design brief for an aquarium exhibit.
  • Identify and differentiate between schematic drawings, floor plans, elevations and isometrics as exhibit design tools.
  • Create a schematic floor plan and a three dimensional scale model of an aquarium exhibit.
  • Identify ways to reach diverse audiences with various learning styles, preferences and needs.
  • Generate and deliver an interpretive outline for an aquarium exhibit to a public audience.
  • Use of facts, interactivity, objects, voice and body language as techniques in delivering interpretation.
  • Participate in exhibit planning meetings and record minutes.
  • Develop tools for evaluating aquarium exhibits.
  • Identify techniques to enhance internal aquarium tank environments and create natural and artificial environments for aquarium species.