Sean Duran, Vice President of Exhibition and Design
It is with great sadness that we share the news that one of our esteemed colleagues, Sean Duran, passed away over the weekend. Sean joined Frost Science in 1999 as an exhibition designer, and eventually became our Vice President of Exhibition and Design, responsible for the overall look and feel of the museum, its branding and exhibitions. Throughout his tenure he contributed creatively to programs and events, leading to the museum’s successes.
During his time here, Sean brought a powerful intellect, a potent creativity, and a fantastic sense of play to the workplace, all of which helped him create exhibits that wowed guests and made learning feel like an adventure you’d gladly take.
Sean possessed a rare combination of talents: he was very much at home in the highly creative world of art direction, had a deep understanding of the crafting and fabrication process required to construct exciting science exhibits, and was well-versed in the fact-based world of science, bringing a robust knowledge of a wide range of topics into the richness of his work.
Prior to joining Frost Science, Sean worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia where he led content and design development teams interpreting research of the Academy’s Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution. These projects included the core development of significant permanent installations such as The Dig (1994), and Butterflies (1996), both of which were replicated by museums nationwide.
Sean loved collaborating with artists, and in 1995 he worked with one of the best—veteran Warner Brothers cartoon director Chuck Jones—to create an art and science exhibition, The Animated Animals of Chuck Jones. He also worked frequently with artist Ray Troll, creating exceptional exhibitions including the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia’s presentation of Dancing to the Fossil Record, various incarnations of Sharkabet and most notably Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes and Other Riches, a touring exhibition that has drawn over 2 million museum visitors in three countries.
Other recent exhibitions include The Dinosaurs of China, a massive 12,000-square-foot collaborative effort with the Beijing Museum of Natural History; Charlie and Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure, a touring exhibit and research project about evolution with the New York Hall of Science, and Heart Smart, a trilingual exhibition and research project in partnership with the University of Miami.
Sean also cared greatly about multilingual communication in exhibitions, and he led the development, testing and implementation of multi-language design protocols for all of Frost Science’s guest-oriented projects.
An honors graduate of Seton Hill University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and design, Sean was a Noyce Fellowship Alumni, a board member of the National Association of Museum Exhibitors and lived in Coconut Grove, Florida with his wife and daughter.
We here at Frost Science are honored to have worked with such a talented person, but perhaps Dr. Jorge Perez-Gallego, who collaborated very closely with Sean on our new Feathers to the Stars exhibit, put it best when he said, “One thing I will always remember him for, besides his particular sense of humor, was his distinct listening hue. When talking to him, while agreeing or disagreeing, I would always feel heard in a delightful way difficult to describe with words. He was oddly reachable. His opinion, no matter how strong, was never an excuse for him to avoid listening to other points of view in an inclusive and constructive way.”
Our sympathies go out to his family, friends and coworkers. Sean loved museums, and loved making them better. He will be sorely missed.
To leave a memory, favorite moment, quote, photo or thought for Sean, please leave a comment on this post. To send via email, please send to email@example.com. All remembrances will be collected and shared with Sean’s family.
*On Saturday, May 7, please join us to celebrate Sean’s life and many wonderful achievements. Information below.