The Star Spangled Banner
National Museum of American History
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

In 2008, our firm created a major interactive exhibition showcasing the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem. Located at the heart of the recently renovated National Museum of American History, the 8,000 square foot experience explores the history of one of the best-known American symbols.

Designed in collaboration with C&G Partners.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Ellis Island, New York

As the major component in the National Park Service’s restoration of Ellis Island, The Main Registry Building was converted into a museum that presents the history of the island and the human epic of immigration to America. The story is presented through a varied series of exhibits that cover more than 80,000 square-feet. Exhibition design followed extensive original research and the assembly of an unprecedented collection of artifacts.

Chermayeff & Geismar Inc.
MetaForm Inc.

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty Museum,
Liberty Island, New York

With the extensive restoration for the centennial of this American landmark in 1986, a permanent exhibit was opened in the base. The exhibit conveys the monument’s origin and history, its construction, and its evolution as an iconic symbol of freedom. A full-size copper replica of Liberty’s face conveys her colossal scale to entering visitors.

A Nation of Nations
Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

A Nation of Nations was the Smithsonian’s major exhibition to celebrate the country’s bicentennial. Visitors moved along a raised pathway that allowed for large exhibits without elaborate casework. Iconic rooms were recreated, while other exhibits were more symbolic. A collection of neon restaurant and food signs succinctly conveys the hybrid nature of much of our cuisine, while a flag of campaign buttons suggests the diversity of our citizenry.

American Chemical Society

Titled “Taking Things Apart and Putting Things Together,” this exhibit described what chemistry is and what chemists do. Modular in form and designed to be easily transportable on trucks, the exhibit traveled to science museums throughout the country as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the American Chemical Society.

American Productivity
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History, Washington, DC

Titled “If we’re so good why aren’t we better?”, this exhibit attempted to impart a basic understanding of complex economic issues through the use of easy-to-understand metaphors. For example, Mom planning her apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner contains all the basic elements of any manufacturing process and the results depend on the quality of her planning, her tools, etc.

The Automobile and Culture
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA

At the “Temporary Contemporary” museum, the visual language of highway signs and street markings guide visitors through the one-way traffic flow of the museum’s inaugural exhibition. The show’s entry panel features the title in the elongated and stylized letterforms common to car nameplates.

The National D-Day Museum
New Orleans, Louisiana

Discarding traditional approaches, the D-Day Museum tells the powerful story of the largest amphibious invasion in history through the voices, personal artifacts, and stories of the ordinary men and women who participated in the war. The firm’s commission included master planning, historical research, collection procurement, exhibit text, exhibit design, and executive production of all audio-visual programs.

Chermayeff & Geismar Inc.
MetaForm Inc.

United States Pavilion Expo ’70
Osaka, Japan
(U.S. Information Agency)

Under a vast translucent air-supported roof, the U.S. Pavilion presented an array of exhibits intended to convey the diversity and creativity of Americans, past and present. Major displays featured space exploration, a large diversified selection of American folk art, and the experimental work of eight artists. The entire structure and all exhibits were conceived and designed by the joint venture team Davis, Brody, Chermayeff, Geismar, de Harak Associates.

Johnstown Flood Museum
Johnstown, Pennsylvania

The Johnstown Flood Museum, housed in a landmark building, chronicles the disastrous flood of 1889. A sixty-foot-long dimensional mural depicting the advance wall of the flood dominates the main gallery where an animated model of the area depicts the events and aftermath of the flood. In a sixty-seat theater, a specially commissioned Academy Award-winning film recounts the tragic event and Johnstown’s remarkable recovery.

Chermayeff & Geismar Inc.
MetaForm Inc.

Sigmund Freud: Conflict & Culture
The Library of Congress,
Washington, DC

This 5,000 square foot exhibit demonstrates the pervasiveness of Freud’s theories in the 20th century. It includes Freud’s famous couch, rare home movies, and video clips of Freudian references in popular culture by Sean Connery, Woody Allen, Homer Simpson, and others. “Exploded manuscripts” allow visitors to delve into original written work. A curving wall of images from magazines, book covers, and web pages documents his legacy in visual form.

John Hancock Observatory
Boston, Massachusetts

The John Hancock Building affords an unparalleled view of Boston. A public observatory was designed as part of the original building plan. Around the perimeter, “tube-scopes” and telescopes highlight important sites, while overhead transparencies amplify the view with close-up images and historic data. In the core, a stand-up theater space dramatizes Boston’s physical growth and its role in the revolution through sound, light and projections.

Pei Cobb Freid & Partners

Jefferson Library
The Library of Congress,
Washington, DC

When the British burned the original Library of Congress in 1812, Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library of over 6,500 books to the government to replace it. This became the foundation of today’s Library of Congress. To commemorate its bicentennial, a special exhibition on Jefferson was developed. The centerpiece for that exhibit is a display of the books that comprised Jefferson’s original collection, housed in specially designed large glass cases arranged in a spiral form.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library
Boston, Massachusetts

Housed within a building designed by I.M. Pei and Partners, the original Kennedy Library exhibits are organized along a timeline tracing the history of the Kennedy family from the immigration of the President’s great-grandparents through his brother’s assassination in 1968.

A rich mixture of documents and artifacts focuses on the issues and events of the Kennedy years. Mini theaters, videos, fiber optics, and digital displays animate the exhibits. A specially commissioned 25-minute film introduces the exhibits.

Kidpower! Science Playground
New York Hall of Science, Flushing, New York

Playgrounds can be superb environments for teaching through play. At this 30,000-square-foot science playground, kids merge play with the discipline of physics by using slides, climbing nets, weights, sound parabolas and much else.

BKS/K Architects and Lee Weintraub Landscape Planners

New York Public Library, Rose Gallery
Main Building at Fifth Avenueand 42nd St

Located on the second floor of the Library’s landmark 1911 Beaux Arts building, this exhibit celebrates the past and present of one of New York City’s most important cultural institutions. The casework is designed to allow elegant architectural finishes to “read” through large translucent photographs. Rare images, maps, books, manuscripts, film clips, and sound recordings help introduce visitors to the rich collections and services at this world-renowned library.

The Mill
Burlington Industries Building
New York, NY

Developed in a long, shallow space at the base of a large midtown office building, The Mill featured an 8-minute ride on a moving walkway. Visitors pass through a composite textile mill, with the sound and feel of actual machinery at work. Mirrors extend the 3-story high space into a seemingly gigantic factory. In the final section, a fast-paced multi-media presentation conveys the rich variety of textiles used in everyday life. During its 10 year run The Mill became a major NYC tourist attraction.

The Presidential Years
The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum, Independence, Missouri

The Museum’s core permanent exhibition introduces visitors to the critical decisions and events of the Truman presidency and immerses them in the rich social and political life of America in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A wide variety of media is used, including artifacts, documents, film, immersive environments, animated 3-D maps, and interactive “Decision Theaters.”

Chermayeff & Geismar Inc.
MetaForm Inc.

Urban Tree House
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Sussman Environmental Center, New York, New York

The Urban Tree House, which opened on Earth Day 1992, is constructed from pieces of the city–traffic cones, a water tower and steel girders. This unique 20,000 square-foot exhibit was conceived to enliven the museum’s courtyard and provide kids with a new perspective on natural and urban cycles. There are many participatory exhibits providing a hands-on entertaining experience with the lesson of reduce, recycle, re-use and re-think.