Dino Re-do

This dinosaur exhibit refurbishment consisted mainly of graphic work, with the exception of a fossil-replacement project.

The documentation on the 12-year-old exhibit was sparse, and the original builder would not return our calls, so we had to conduct experiments to determine the concrete formulas that would best match the existing concrete.

The structures could not be moved, so we built a dust containment structure and worked on the concrete in the gallery.

We cut out the old pieces using a large angle grinder, hammer drill, reciprocating saw, hammer, and cold chisel.

We supported the new pieces with concrete, and made future replacement easier by adding a layer of plastic between the new fossil and the concrete below.  The fossils are secured by the concrete around the perimeter.

Above: a new fossil, ready for exploration


I served as project lead.  In addition to museum staff, I had help from high school interns Ben Lapidus and Avi Wilcox.  I taught them fabrication skills and they provided labor and dad jokes.  Fossil casts were provided by the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Underwater Touch Wall


Replace an aging maintenance nightmare in the MSC Kids Room with a touchwall inspired by the deep sea.



SV: project management, design and fabrication oversight
Nilam Sari (intern): design, prototyping, artwork
Cole Pritchard: final design and fabrication

Laugh Garden


Take a pile of electronics that used to be an exhibit, and give them a second life.


The company that originally built the interactive would not return e-mails or calls, so I had to decode configuration files and wade through extraneous hardware to get things working

I exposed the electronics in an acrylic-faced cabinet so visitors could get a sense of how the motion-sensing technology worked.
Hardware and software testing in the shop


SV: project management, computer config, A/V config, design, fab, install, document
Melody Often: mural design and painting (artist website)
Cole Pritchard: assisted with fabrication and install

E. Coli Muller Plot

I helped scientist Rohan Maddamsetti create a Muller Plot and supporting diagrams for his paper on E. coli evolution.  Rohan provided the raw data and we worked together to merge it together into the final diagram using Adobe Illustrator.

The paper was awarded the “1st Centennial Award For Population And Evolutionary Genetics.” More info from the Genetics Society of America.

The full scientific article: Adaptation, Clonal Interference, and Frequency-Dependent Interactions in a Long-Term Evolution Experiment with Escherichia coli

Exhibit Rendering and Sketching


These renderings were created to lend form to exhibit concepts and sell them to funders and other stakeholders.  Tools: Adobe Photoshop and Wacom Cintiq

Water v1 copy
Concept for a new water room at Impression 5
Sound v1 copy
Concept for a Sound exhibit at Impression 5
Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
Concept for an exhibit about manufacturing, Maryland Science Center
Overview Rendering v2 WEB copy
Revised concept rendering, after construction methods and components were refined, Science & Main.


Pen, pencil, and paper


Various life drawings, ideas, and illustrations, mostly personal work

Robo Crab


When I found out we were paying $200 every few weeks to replace the mechanical robot in one of our exhibits, I knew there had to be a better way.  I worked with volunteer Paul Stankiewicz to create a durable, low-maintenance, and affordable replacement.  The Robo Crab uses an over-sized motor, linear guide rail, and pivots with bushings and shoulder screws.

Above: Paul decommissioning the last of the ‘disposable’ $200 robots, before replacing it with Robo Crab

Materials cost around $200, and thanks to Paul’s generosity, it only took a little bit of my labor to manage the project.



Create an exhibit that empowers visitors to explore the science of light and color. See the captions of the images below for more detail:

Artwork in foreground created by Lansing artist Abbey Hoffman
Light Challenge component: I worked with an intern to create the meters, which measured the amount of light concentrated on the photocell. When enough light was concentrated, the meter would turn from red to green.
The table was designed with an array of small holes so that meters and barriers could be easily moved.
Hanging edge-lit graphics, created with the CNC router
Control panel for the light-painting component
I was responsible for the electronics on the color-mixing activity. We wanted a reliable point-source LED for crisp shadows and zero-maintenance. I sourced and fabricated the LED circuitry and kid-proofed the potentiometers.
Laser SpiroGraph v1.00 DRAWING v02
Final construction drawings, created in Solidworks
Lens Play DRAWING v03
Final construction drawings, created in Solidworks
Lens Play DRAWING v03
Final construction drawings, created in Solidworks


Concept designs, prototyping, electronics, final designs and graphics


Impression 5 Science Center, Lansing MI



Color-changing Light Mosaic



The Spectrum exhibit sponsor requested that we include a giant ‘Lite Brite.’  I thought that we could do even better and create a color-changing version, but the complexity and cost of the obvious solution (RGB LEDs and rotary encoders) was prohibitive.  I invented a simple mechanism that consists of 4 parts per peg (2 custom parts, an o-ring, and a dowel pin), and has proven reliable over the years.

Design and Manufacture

Each peg assembly would go through thousands of cycles, and there would be a couple thousand peg assemblies, each with a potential for failure, so I took extra steps to ensure longevity.  See the photos below for more details…

LiteBrite (1)
A Light Mosaic created by artist Abbey Hoffman as a social-media promotion
LiteBrite (5)
p_LiteBrite_ (3)
Visitor creations
p_LiteBrite_ (2)
Visitor creations
LiteBrite (2)
This testing jig was used to test the reliability of a carrier. It simulated an estimated 5 years of use. I made a small change to the design based on this testing.
LiteBrite (3)
I used the in-house ShopBot CNC machine to cut out all custom pieces
LiteBrite (4)
I tracked the parts in batches and coordinated with volunteers to conduct final assembly.
Light Mosaic Drawing v14
Light Mosaic Drawing v14
Construction drawing of a finished module. The final wall consisted of about 20 100-peg modules.



I was project lead, handling design through install.  Many volunteers and a few employees assisted with assembly.  My coworker Josh Smith fabricated the cabinet and installed the lighting.


Impression 5 Science Center, Lansing MI



Fenner Nature Center Concepts

After seeing my designs at Impression 5, Fenner asked me to conceptualize a new space to reinvigorate their aging exhibit area.

Overview of the final gallery design
Fenner Ideas v03 - Backdrop and environmental copy
A materials and finishes rendering used during the design phase.
Fenner Ideas v03 - Backdrop and environmental copy
This is a title test
Test caption added in gallery.