George Carpenter's profile

Palo Alto Junior Museum Exhibits

The Palo Alto Junior Museum
& Zoo 
Exhibit Production
Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo // Palo Alto, CA 2019 – 2021

Designed by Koen Liem & Tina Keegan

My role: fabrication, finishing, assembly, installation, design, creative detailing
The ball wall machine was fabricated, installed and assembled by a group of four people. My role was in the transport, assembly of the chain lift and ferris wheel, staining of the facades, trim, and back mounts, construction of the gear boxes, manufacturing of various components, and installation of barrier segments surrounding the ball machine.
I designed several spinning tops for an exhibit teaching children about mass, color, and illusions. Each top demonstrates a different optical phenomenon that can only be seen in person. The exhibit was conceptualized by Tina Keegan and the initial prototypes were created by Sylvia Chen.
The collections corner of the exhibit hall contains many cabinets of wonder. In two of these drawers, you are to find the camouflage bugs and the tiny toy animals. The other drawer you must guess which animal pooped. 
Each diorama includes dozens of parts, all of which I sanded, stained, and finished. The background silhouettes were achieved with multicolored layers of stain, using paint masks and careful gel stain application to achieve crisp edges. Additionally, I fastened mirrors on the back of each diorama, creating a kaleidoscope.
This project was overseen and conceptualized by JMZ director, John Aikin. Dozens of feet were sculpted to create concrete stamps. Each set of feet represent an animal in the zoo with the intent of creating tracks around the footpath leading to specific animal enclosures. Some footprints could be purchased off the shelf, but most I had to sculpt from reference photos. Whilst maintaining accurate proportions in the sculpting process, it was important to also keep the gate of each animal in mind during the stamping process. 
Picture above: Hand painted cambrian creatures and a tiny woodland diorama under magnification.
This treasure chest contains rocks, minerals, and non-living organisms that glow under UV light. The user is able to control where the flashlight points, creating a glowing scavenger hunt. I fabricated the box and arranged the objects inside. 
Each drawer has a strong smell. Find out what that smell is by looking into the diorama and matching the corresponding number. My role in this exhibit was the creation of the diorama with the goal of telling a story utilizing the smells represented in each drawer. 
This two-sided exhibit includes a wall and nine wonder cabinets. I constructed the cabinets, stained, and finished the donor wall side, painted, assembled, the plexi windows, and stained frames on the cabinet side.
Palo Alto Junior Museum Exhibits

Palo Alto Junior Museum Exhibits