Marine experts from around South Florida met today with members of the new Museum team to take part in a brainstorming workshop focused on advancing the design of the aquarium components of the New Museum’s Living Core. Experts included fish culturists Martin Moe and Julian Sprung; aquaculture researcher Dan Benetti and shark expert Neil Hammerschlag from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science; Jim Robinett from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago; Billy Causey from NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; conservation biologist Mahmood Shivji from NOVA’s National Coral Reef Institute; Mark Kraus from the Everglades Foundation, and marine scientist and popular science author Ellen Prager. Staff from Thinc, the exhibit design firm responsible for design of the Living Core, also attended the session.
The workshop was the kickoff to an intensive period of exhibit development that will begin next month, drawing on the experts to refine the key messages and content areas of the Living Core. In particular, the group identified specific opportunities for connecting the exhibits to current research; how the exhibits could be used to explore the broad environmental and social impacts of such topics as aquaculture and climate change; ways to use technology to enhance the experience, and ways to engage the public in ongoing research and solutions to environmental challenges. The Museum sees these kinds of workshops as a key strategy for tapping expertise and developing partnerships that will lead to a richer exhibit experience, and will use this approach to develop MiaSci’s other exhibit areas in the months ahead.