Created in 2018 for Antarctic Dinosaurs, the Field Museum’s newest traveling exhibition, the fossil hunting media experience spans the entire third gallery and takes visitors on an expedition to Mt. Kirkpatrick, where paleontologists excavate dinosaur fossils in an incredibly harsh climate.

Greg Mercer led the media production of this element and Taylor Peterson was project manager within the Field Museum team that created this exhibition.

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Transform a linear narrative into an authentic and dynamic experience


1: Analyze the story structure

This experience is an anchor point for the entire exhibition but it was originally concepted as a simple, standalone video element. While the gallery design was still malleable, the team discovered the excavation process could be distilled into five distinct steps, an approach which allowed them to push boundaries with the story’s presentation.

2: Gritty footage inspires the physical display

To make visitors feel as though they are on the ground with the expedition crew, the team wanted the design to be as authentic as possible and evoke the mountainside where the fossils are found. Testing the media on a variety of replicated sample materials, the team discovered that literal textures and surface details could support much of the footage.


3: Physical design informs media details…

The landforms were extensively tested and tweaked, from clay moquettes informing general form and placement to a full scale rocky-surfaced prototype. This tool allowed the team to evaluate the program as it developed and guided footage selection, informing what worked and what didn’t, such as panning shots which caused dizziness.


4: …and media informs physical design details

As the program took its final shape, it became clear that each structure needed to be tailored specifically to its projected content. Through an intensive, team-wide back-and-forth detailing process, the landforms were refined, fabricated, and mapped with the media in the gallery.