Zoos & Aquariums

Backyard Ecology Hall

Mayborn Museum

Mayborn Museum Backyard Ecology Roto Exhibit

Situated on the mighty Brazos River in Waco, Texas, Baylor University’s Mayborn Museum has an important ecology story to tell in its own community. The Mayborn hired Roto to help the museum reimagine its interactive family gallery focused on local ecology and natural life around the region. The resulting Backyard Ecology Hall incorporates live animals, interactive exhibits, and natural history collections into an energetic and cohesive new exhibit about the amazing natural world found in “your own backyard.”

Highlights

  • Integrated live animal displays, including animal care areas for husbandry and staff-facilitated demonstrations
  • Flexible collections displays to feature rotating objects and artifacts from the museum’s extensive natural history collection
  • Wall to wall illustrative murals featuring natural environments found in central Texas
Mayborn Museum Backyard Ecology Roto Exhibit
Mayborn Museum Backyard Ecology Roto Exhibit

As part of its hands-on Jeanes Discovery Center, the Mayborn Museum has featured live animals for many years, but the displays were in separate rooms and lacking a purpose as part of the experience. Through several creative and science-inspired workshop, Roto developed a new family-friendly content framework around which the live animals, displays, and interactives could fit. This new universal theme – Growing, Going, Living Together – brought the experiences in several adjacent rooms together under a clear and relatable big idea.

Mayborn Museum Backyard Ecology Roto Exhibit
Mayborn Museum Backyard Ecology Roto Exhibit

As with any live animal exhibit, functionality for staff and a high standard of animal care is the top priority. Collaborating with Mayborn’s experienced animal care staff, Roto’s living collections experts tailored this design to the practical everyday needs of this museum and its audience. In addition to establishing a new devoted back-of-house animal care room adjacent to the gallery, the Roto design incorporated husbandry supply storage, access needs, enclosure flexibility, and animal containment directly into the new displays. The display infrastructure also supports on-the-spot staff demonstrations, making special animal encounters for visitors easier and safer than ever before.

Mayborn Museum Backyard Ecology Roto Exhibit
Leveraging the museum’s extensive natural history collection, the Backyard Ecology Hall design also integrates natural objects and artifacts in clever and playful ways. Multiple flexible-use cases, secure and illuminated, allow staff to curate and change displays as desired to keep the experience fresh for repeat visitors. Finally, a new locally-inspired art direction transforms the existing gallery spaces into a bright and illustrative place. Colorful murals and graphics feature the forests, meadows, and riparian zones of Central Texas, while authentic natural materials evoke the rough-hewn cedar structures of Waco’s history.         
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