Unseen Oceans at The American Museum of Natural History, New York

Designed by: The American Museum of Natural History
For client: In House Floor area: 603.87 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Exhibition of the Year

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Exhibition Introduction – Exhibition Title Projection Video

About the Project

Unseen Oceans takes visitors on a journey from the oceans’ sunlit surfaces to their inky depths as they discover our blue planet as never before. Visitors join scientists in their fieldwork to discover creatures living at previously unseen ocean layers.
Visitors explore circular, media-rich galleries showcasing marine environments and introducing new methods to explore the oceans. How do blue whales spend their day? What’s going on in the deep waters surrounding Hawai`i? Unseen Oceans answers these questions and explores other lines of inquiry that ocean researchers have only recently uncovered.
Visitors are welcomed with a familiar sight: a projection of waves lapping at their feet and a vista of the water’s surface. To start, visitors encounter larger-than-life models of beautiful planktonic species, view tiny organisms at interactive microscope stations, and try to match the planktonic and adult forms of a variety of marine species in a “Find My Baby Picture” game. In addition, visitors encounter fossils from Earth’s past and stand in awe of the immensity of the animals that inhabit our blue planet today at a 180-degree, high-resolution screen where animations of ocean life swim by visitors at true-to-life scales. Before exiting, visitors experience marine exploration at interactive submersible stations, where they take the joystick of a virtual submersible, navigate around seamounts, and make discoveries of their own.

What’s unique about it

Our exhibit, “Unseen Oceans”, highlights new discoveries as well as voyages both historic and modern that have advanced our understanding of the marine environment. Each section introduces a marine scientist, allowing visitors to learn more about the unknown ocean layers through their work.
A stylized ocean is created using a circular motif, inspired by the look of water droplets and columns, supplemented by a palette of rich blues and greens.
Every interactive kiosk is designed to function when operated by a viewer of any height, including children. A wall to wall 180 degree screen showcases animations of ocean life, at true-to-life scales.
The exhibition aims to make marine science accessible and relatable, by immersing the visitor in features such as a room reminiscent of a topographic map, and interactive submersible stations.
Drawing on the last decade’s amazing technological advances in underwater photography and cinematography, “Unseen Oceans” is be a media-rich experience that also incorporates the Museum’s signature mix of 3-D dioramas and artifacts to tell compelling stories and educate the public.

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Mysterious Drifters - Discovering Plankton

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Mysterious Drifters – Plankton Models & Photos

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Mysterious Drifters – Matching Interactive

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Going Deep - Topography Experience

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Secret Lives – Biofluorescent Sculpture Models and Interactives

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Encountering Giants - 180º Media Experience

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Invisible Boundaries – Submersible Photo Op.

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Catching a Dive – Submersible Theater Experience

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© Dennis Finnin and Roderick Mickens of The AMNH Photo Studio

Vital Abundance - Interactive

Credits:
The American Museum of Natural History

Color Edge

Heartland Scenic Studios

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