Science Education & Exhibit Design
Interactive exhibits are ubiquitous in museums, aquariums and science centers because they present an opportunity for guests to learn and have fun. As part of a graduate class (Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences) I designed an interactive exhibit at the Birch Aquarium in San Diego, CA to teach guests about the different sources of underwater sound that together, compose a soundscape.
Aquarium guests learn about acoustic ecology and become "Underwater DJs" by orchestrating their own soundscapes. A web-based platform allows users to practice their DJ skills with soundscapes from tropical, polar, and coastal habitats.
The exhibit was designed with the following learning objectives in mind:
There are three sources of sound underwater: anthropogenic, biological and geological
Sound is important to many animals to find food, mates and suitable habitat, as well as to avoid predators
Underwater human noise can affect animals through disrupting normal behavior, causing displacement or stress, and altering their ability to find conspecifics, food or predators
I served as an acoustic advisor for a project by Todd Everett of the Computing in the Arts program at UCSD. The installation "A Narrow Channel" highlighted the differences in biologic and anthropogenic sounds throughout a 24 hour cycle at different locations around the San Diego Bay.
You can learn a lot by listening...