Permanently docked on the side of the Hudson river, New York City, we found the U.S.S Intrepid – an Essex class Aircraft carrier. First launched in April 1943 for the second world war. It was decommissioned in 1974 and became one of the most unique museums in the world In 1982 – becoming the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space museum. Housing a variety of equipment and paraphernalia related to the United states Air Force, Navy and NASA. With the addition of the Enterprise Space Shuttle in 2013, the museum underwent a full branded environment renovation. Take a look at the pictures below to see a brilliant spot of exhibition design.
The use of steel and bold cut-out texts provide a particularly masculine backdrop to the military hardware. This conforms with the particular idiosyncrasies of a museum in a large aircraft carrier, preserving and displaying the exposed structure of the ships interior due to the fact that the museum itself is its own exhibit.
The displays use curved sections to contrast against the hard straight edges of the ship, the powerful 3 word manifest of the museum Honor, Educate, Inspire, is displayed in this connecting display band as visitors exit the building.
The new Enterprise space shuttle interior, uses dark blues as a roof to evoke a sense of outer space to visitors. The displays and artefacts are simple and effective with a more official approach than the rest of the museum. The Main attraction, the enterprise, dominates the interior of the space shuttle pavilion. It feels squeezed into the tight space, this ads to the character of the exhibit – visitors truly grasp the scale of the spacecraft.
As exhibition designers, it is nice to see unusual spaces used for exhibitions, it always gives designers a fresh challenge to both respect the identity of the space, but also display artefacts in any-kind of bold or interesting way. Luckily, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum manages to find the right balance for what must be an testing challenge to its designers as there is no more unusual space for a museum than a giant WW2 aircraft Carrier.