News

  • CMOM's “America to Zanzibar” Introduces School-Aged Children to Aspects of Muslim Cultures

    In 2016, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan hired Roto to complete the design and build of their latest 3,500 square foot exhibit focused on Muslim cultures. Using real-world content and stories as the vehicle, the museum aimed to familiarize school-aged children with the arts, fare, daily customs, and professions of numerous Muslim cultures around the world. Roto’s skilled project and design team put flesh and bone to this content, with an eye for authenticity appearance and accessibility for a young audience. The final product exhibits bright fields of color, architectural elements and highlights of complex patterning reminiscent of some of the featured cultures.

    The center courtyard features a fountain adorned with a backdrop of intricate latticework. Surrounding activities include a musical experience blending the sounds of a variety of instruments from the Middle East, a large dhow (boat) encouraging pretend play as children can fish off its bow, explore ancient trade routes, or hoist items to the above deck using a conveyor belt. A long row of colorful stalls create a suk (market), each representing a different product and country from Muslim culture. Children can try on vibrant fabrics at the Senegalese Tailor Shop, smell spices from Egypt, feel the coarse fibers of Moroccan rugs, and see the unique fruits from Indonesia along the stalls of this suk. 

    "America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far" recently received some well-deserved praise from New York Times. Check out the article here.

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  • NMAH Explores Topic Of Innovation In New Permanent Gallery

    This permanent exhibition opened earlier this month as part of the National Museum of American History’s major renovation of the First Floor West Wing, celebrating the theme of “innovation.” Places of Invention invites visitors to explore six diverse stories demonstrating the common features through American history which have served to transform a group of people and resources into a true “hot spot” of innovation. Roto combined unique interactive elements with bold media and graphical treatments, and the design clearly compares Hartford in the 1890’s with Hollywood in the 1930’s; Silicon Valley with the equally-powerful story of innovation happening in the Bronx around the same time period. Places of Invention makes use of the latest techniques for ensuring a fully-participatory history experience for everyday family, group and adult visitors

    Case studies include:

    - precision manufacturing in Hartford, Connecticut, in the late 1800s

    - technicolor in Hollywood, California, in the 1930s

    - medical innovations in Medical Alley, Minnesota, in the 1950s

    - hip-hop’s birth in the Bronx, New York, in the 1970s

    - the rise of the personal computer in Silicon Valley, California, in the 1970s and 1980s

    - clean-energy innovations in Fort Collins, Colorado, in the 2010s

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  • "Curiocity" Now Open At The Science Museum Oklahoma

    Designed as a quirky village, CurioCity measures 20,000 square feet and is larger than 95 percent of all standalone children’s museums in the nation. The exhibit features eight unique “neighborhoods” and hundreds of hands-on, interactive elements in which families can explore music, risk-taking, performance arts and more. “Neighborhoods” such as Spark Park, Wunderground and Tinker Works get families working together to build, dig and explore science in unexpected and entertaining ways.

    Thematically, the gallery (all constructed by Roto’s fabrication team) is full of clever building facades to look like alien space ships, giant stacks of books, over-sized antique radios, or other “curious” elements. 

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  • New Aviation Exhibit In Wichita Has Started To Take Flight

    Exploration Place officially announced their plans for a new 5,000 square foot aviation exhibit, creating a focus on the engineering and manufacturing of aircraft. Situated in Wichita, a worldwide hub of business-class aviation (home to Cessna, Hawker-Beech, Leer, Boeing and others), Exploration Place has been working with Roto since 2011 to develop the new "Design, Build, Fly" exhibit. The museum has raised about $500,000 toward its $2 million goal for the new exhibit. It's scheduled to open in the summer of 2017.

    Roto provided a comprehensive plan for how to do it, including a complete design study using authentic airplanes, modified in specific ways to accommodate engaging new interactives and advanced simulation experiences. Roto acted as both designer and also as facilitator of a vast community project, which now stands ready for final design and implementation. "Design, Build, Fly" will allow visitors to climb inside a deconstructed business jet, experience what it's like to design a plane and watch what happens on a manufacturing plant floor through Exploration Place's new permanent aviation exhibit.

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  • New Partnership With Dublin City Schools Provides Roto With Extensive User Testing

    Building on Roto’s rich heritage of iterative, visitor-centered exhibit development, we are extremely excited to announce a comprehensive new partnership with Dublin City Schools, the local district surrounding Roto’s international headquarters here in Central Ohio. Founded on a strong mutual commitment to STEM learning, this in-depth collaboration opens new horizons for hundreds of students participating directly in Roto’s process of exhibit development and evaluation. Coordinated through the district’s “K to Industry” forward-looking program, Roto volunteers will collaborate in the classroom, and bright yellow school buses will pull up outside Roto’s busy design and production facility, in an exchange unprecedented for a major commercial exhibit designer/fabricator in the museum field.

    Student experiences include an immersion in all aspects of design and production – from the planning of new exhibits to the prototyping process to the operation of high-tech tools such as the CNC router. Students meet working engineers, designers, fabricators, scenic artists, and others, and ask questions about careers they may otherwise have never encountered. At the heart of each encounter is student participation in live exhibit testing, peer observation, data collection, and collaborative feedback. In other programs, Roto will assist classes in art and science with the development of their own custom projects, such as designing the “next generation school playground,” with some of the child-generated ideas finding their way into future Roto projects.

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  • Museum Of Natural Curiosity Is Utah's Newest Family Museum

    Roto was hired in 2006 to provide initial planning and design for the new 45,000 square foot children’s museum whimsically titled, the “Museum of Natural Curiosity.” In 2012, after completion of fundraising activities, Roto was contracted to build and install for a spring 2014 opening. Now, after being open to the public for almost three months, the Museum of Natural Curiosity seems to be thriving, and we couldn't be more thrilled. “It’s rewarding to open the doors to the Museum of Natural Curiosity after so many years of planning, fundraising and building,” said Mike Washburn, president and CEO of Thanksgiving Point. “We have already received positive feedback from many guests as they find experiences here that they have never seen anywhere else. With our unique offerings, we believe the Museum of Natural Curiosity will become a premier place for families.

    The museum is oriented around the broad theme of curiosity. The three Roto-designed, permanent galleries include a fictional town full of self-discovery and expression, a unique, over-the-top water and environment space featuring amazing new innovations on the typical water-based interactives, and a rich, mysterious Rainforest Adventure full of large-muscle and group problem-solving activities.

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  • Roto's Own "Heart Of Africa" Now Open At The Columbus Zoo

    Roto provided complete design-build services for visitor experiences within this massive expansion at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Heart of Africa is home to 7 major animal exhibits, three function buildings including a special events center, full-service restaurant and a visitor shelter. Based on authentic research of typical African villages, Roto provided extensive theming to create realistic contexts for visitor spaces, including a themed Land Rover and real Beech 18 aircraft that visitors can climb into and interact with. A number of custom interactives, including working African drums (re-engineered for continual outdoor use) and related cultural experiences, were added to hundreds of unique interpretive elements sharing both animal adaptation information as well as important conservation messages with zoo patrons. Click here to learn more.

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  • Roto Receives Feedback From Leading Industry Experts: Kids!

    Roto is nearing completion of CurioCity, a highly-themed interactive exhibition set in “a little town built on big ideas.” CurioCity features over 85 custom activities that include a walk-in kaleidoscope, an oversized music box, and a kid-powered carousel. Focused user testing is taking place at Roto’s 60,000 square foot facility with kids ages 3-7 to ensure these interactive experiences are fun, intuitive, and sustainable. CurioCity is the latest example of Roto’s integrated design/build model, which maintains the same creative leadership, project management, design, and engineering personnel from inception through installation.

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