By Adele Maurier Design Coordinator
A lot of different scenarios can play out before an exhibit arrives at SEE for you to enjoy. Some of our exhibits are built on site in the SEE workshop, other exhibits are purchased from other science centers and others are custom built for us by exhibit design firms. But the most special exhibits to us are the exhibits that were built with the local community. Going back to the very beginning of SEE in 1986, working with community partners has not only been essential to our success, but something that brings us great pride and satisfaction – and we meet a lot of great people! Through the years many different community partners have worked with SEE to create and build exhibits. The biggest example is our LEGO Millyard Project, where four local organizations and over 200 volunteers helped plan and build the exhibit from 2004 to 2006. Recently SEE had the privilege to work with Community Partners to build the Hybrid House.
The Hybrid House is one component of the “Green Revolution”, an exhibition originally created by the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, and made available by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The typical recipe for traveling a museum exhibition is to pack objects into crates, load them onto trucks, and then have those trucks travel the highways to museums across the country. “Green Revolution,” however, is an innovative museum exhibit where participating venues receive all of the necessary design files and instructions digitally, allowing them to construct and customize their very own home grown “eco-zibit” from re-used, recycled materials found within their local community.
The Hybrid House was funded in part by a grant from PSNH and the NH Center for Non-Profits. Exhibit construction was completed by a broad partnership including PSNH employee volunteers, the Manchester Community College, and the UNH Cooperative Extension. A significant portion of the materials for the project were donated by Coastal Forest Products and Bedford Fields. The result is a house built with sustainable construction that contains exhibits on six home energy efficiency topics. The volunteers gave their time and skills and creativity to bring a one-of-a-kind exhibit to the SEE community. Visit SEE any day to check it out!
Celebrating the Hybrid House Opening are volunteers from PSNH(front, l-r): Jack Schelling, Adele Maurier (SEE Science Center Design Coordinator), Thelma Brown, Nancy Rheinhardt, Mark Toussaint, and Dave Simard. In the back are Douglas Heuser (SEE Science Center Executive Director), Randy Dixon, Mike Loughlin, Dave Still, and Ray Horion. Missing from photo are Jim Zattlerand John Beaney, who were responsible for much of the construction, Margaret Hagen and Pam Doherty from the UNH Cooperative Extension who were responsible for much of the signage and Dana Mosher from Manchester Community College and Stephen Floyd from PSNH who designed the wall construction.
What materials were recycled to create the Hybrid House? Some examples: The balance at the center of the house was once part of an exhibit on aging; the introductory sign was once part of an exhibit on communications.