Located in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum features unique exhibits and experiences showcasing Indiana’s history. The museum was in need of specialty props and found ExpoDesign as a local resource.

The Challenge

The Indiana State Museum has a team of in-house exhibit builders. However, their exhibits typically center on historical artifacts, and custom prop building is somewhat outside their wheelhouse. The museum’s team was creating the Amazing Maize exhibit featuring the history of corn in Indiana and the crop’s impact on the state. The team needed to complete the display with custom 3D pieces. In particular, they wanted a corn DNA helix swirling around a large, ancient corn kernel, a colorful and accurate globe and a seven-foot-tall replica of a Mayan maize god relic. ExpoDesign was commissioned to design, fabricate and install these custom 3D props.

The Solution

ExpoDesign’s artists put together design elements that met these specific needs. We fabricated the DNA helix from steel, applied an automotive finish and created a custom mounting fixture. The corn kernel and the maize god relic were sculpted out of styrofoam. We then applied our hardcoating system and faux-finish to achieve the ancient look. After completing the fabrication, our team carefully installed the elements to complete the display. The exhibit was open from late September 2011 until January 2013.

The Indiana State Museum was so thrilled with the craftsmanship of the maize god that they requested a second smaller replica that could be easily transported. ExpoDesign created this second replica, and the smaller maize god traveled around central Indiana. The portable replica was used to generate publicity for the upcoming Amazing Maize exhibit and was photo-documented on Flickr with notables such as then-Governor Mitch Daniels and Mayor Greg Ballard.

ExpoDesign has since worked with the Indiana State Museum on a number of other projects: building diorama platforms and an interactive fossil dig-pit for their mammoth exhibit, a custom donation collector in the shape of the museum and a colorful replica of a field-stone chimney to decorate Santa’s North Pole during the holiday season.

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