News

  • Union Terminal is Back with the Science Interactives Gallery!

    The Cincinnati Museum Center, located in the historic Union Terminal building, has been undergoing major renovations over the last 2.5 years. Once a bustling passenger train station, the venue continues to thrive as a hub of knowledge, discovery and learning. In 2018, CMC contracted with Roto to design and build their new 4,000 square-foot Science Hall, which would bring hands-on Science Interactives to the museum for the first time. The premise was simple yet effective, in that the gallery would leverage many of Roto’s suite of tried-and-true interactive replications and existing R&D in order to compile a collection of “Hall of Fame” science interactives. Each activity was chosen in order to touch on a broad range of science and physics phenomena throughout the gallery from simple machines and the laws of motion to explorations of heat and aerodynamics and even the formation of natural phenomena like tornadoes and toroidal vortices while at the same time, maintaining the core values of being hands-on, repeatable and highly engaging for visitors. Key interactives include a cloud maker, spinning table, ball and gear wall, air cannons, an infrared “temp tattoo” kiosk, and an impressive 15’ tall tornado vortex! 

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  • New ‘Ohio: Champion of Sports’ Exhibit Uncovers the History of Athletics

    Roto has collaborated with the Ohio History Connection in their largest exhibition to date. “Ohio: Champion of Sports” celebrates the stories of the history-making moments and legendary people who have shaped the Ohio’s sports history. Covering nearly 7,000 ft2 across multiple galleries, Champion of Sports features various artifacts, activities and stories accompanied by large, eye-catching environmental graphics. Additionally, rather than being organized by sport, time period or region, the organization of the exhibit is based on those tenets of the human condition that everyone can relate to – Character, Adversity, Innovation, Identity,

    Using collected memorabilia and recorded interviews, the exhibit tells the stories of Ohioans at both the amateur and professional level. Visitors can see dozens of items from the vintage era of Ohio sports including the Cleveland Cavaliers jersey worn by Lebron James as an NBA rookie – loaned by the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Visitors can also use a series of touch-screen kiosks to hear inspirational anecdotes from sports legends like Cleveland-born John Heismen, who introduced the forward pass to football and later had the prestigious college trophy named after him. Other interactives include activities where visitors can become part of the action by testing their basketball skills at the Wall of Hoops; recording a victory dance to share with friends; or recording personal sports achievements as One-Minute Legends. 

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  • The First U.S. State to Display Original Founding Documents

    In 2018, the Ohio Statehouse Museum hired Roto to create a new exhibit dedicated to the examination and preservation of the original 1802 and 1851 Ohio Constitutions. Following years of behind-the-scenes work with the Ohio History Connection, the previous stewards of the historic documents, the Statehouse appointed Roto to transfer the delicate documents to the museum, thus becoming the first state to display an authentic constitution at their state capital building. Roto’s job was to blend these authentic artifacts with digital content in a way that transcends into something that visitors can’t get online – a tactile experience designed to reflect the changing ideas and opinions of visitors who experience it.

    Roto’s skilled team provided state-of-the-art-archival display cases for these priceless documents – conserved to the highest standards of archival document preservation – while mindfully providing security, creating the right environmental conditions for 200-year old documents, and making them accessible to the public. Making the documents personal and engaging for both Ohio citizens and tourists posed as an additional challenge that was resolved by flanking the case with interactives that articulate the idea of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities. Additionally, the touch activation not only gets visitors actively engaging since you can not see the documents until you physically turn on the light – but every person is tangibly contributing to the documents’ history with every light photon affecting the vulnerability of the documents. The entire project was planned, designed, engineered, built and installed to last for a generation.

    Read more in our case study here.

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  • Living in Color at the Greene Family Learning Gallery

    Roto collaborated with the High Museum of Art to expand and reimagine the Greene Family Learning Gallery. Roto provided concept design through fabrication and installation services for this new 4,000 square-foot creative space that encourages visitors to think like artists.

    The completely revitalized gallery features two distinct spaces designed on a set of goals informed by years of visitor observation, community input and research. The first gallery, “CREATE,” features a bright and open studio-like space where visitors can hone their creative skills and learn the fundamentals of art. The second space, “EXPERIENCE,” is an immersive gallery where visitors explore what art means, how it makes them feel, and how to use those skills for appreciating art.

    Some of the more prominent activities include a kinetic, gesture-based art interactive where visitors use their whole body to paint on large, digital canvases; a community tree that grows thicker with every hand-drawn “leaf’ added; and a living artwork space where hand movements bring the room to life with a full-bodied, star-filled sky of constellations. Additionally, each space features a “quiet room” with activities designed for reflection as well as an area specifically for toddlers. 

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  • Roto's got a wild side!

    Roto’s world class planning, design and design-build capabilities for interactive museums just got even better. Lyons Zaremba Associates, one of the world’s leading exhibit designers for aquariums and zoos, is now part of Roto.

    Roto’s in-house capabilities now include:

    • master planning support for aquarium & animal exhibits

    • a full suite of professional design services for living collections & life support systems

    • advanced techniques for immersive, memorable & socially-engaging conservation exhibits

    Come visit us at our Ohio headquarters or our new East Coast office!

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  • The Newly Renovated Martin ArtQuest Gallery Brings a Fresh Energy to Frist

    The Frist Art Museum has recently unveiled the new and improved renovation of the Martin ArtQuest Gallery to the public! Roto partnered with the museum to reinvision the space, create a number of dynamic new activities, and refresh some old favorites. With a new Art Deco design aesthetic, an open concept layout, and added capacity, the innovative redesign of MAQ has become an open and inviting space that fosters collaboration and community. The new design aesthetic maintains a balance between sophistication and comfort and draws from art deco-inspired design details found throughout the historic building, Nashville’s former main post office originally built in the early 1930s. In addition to improved functionality of a few time-tested activity stations, visitors will enjoy brand new ones, including a color wall of small dials you can turn to create patterns using the full color spectrum and a sound vibration station that creates sand patterns using different sound frequencies. Added capacity makes room for two large, rotating collaborative art projects, including a fiber sculpture and a transformative media activity that uses interactive technology to create an animation of water colors in epic painting. MAQ makes use of the power of art in a new space to help the next generation of artists find their voice.

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  • NMAI’s ImagiNATIONS Activity Center Reignites Native American Innovation

    The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has officially opened the ImagiNATIONS Activity Center with hopes of explaining the importance of Native innovators and their influence on the Americas through a series of age-appropriate stations. Roto was hired to complete the design and fabrication of this 1,800 sq. ft. permanent bilingual exhibition, targeted for kids and families opened in the museum’s New York City branch as part of an approximately $9 million renovation – the museum’s largest design undertaking since its founding in 1994. While the museum has an ImagiNATIONS center in its Washington building, this new center goes in an entirely new direction with Roto’s designs focusing on creating fulfilling and robust interactivity to withstand New York’s sizable visitor traffic. The center demonstrates the different aspects of native knowledge and how their innovations have made an impression on modern-day math, engineering and science. The physics section includes a mechanized kayak where children try to stay upright in a simulation imitating rough waters, and the architecture section offers a small model igloo designed for children to assemble using Inuit techniques. The center also demonstrates the impression of Native technology and engineering with an installation challenging kids to build a bridge strong enough to withstand an “earthquake” next to the Peruvian-built string suspension bridge.

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  • 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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