George Carpenter's profile

Dinosaur Exhibit Prototypes

California Dinosaur Garden
Exhibit Prototypes

Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo // Palo Alto, CA 2022

Project oversight by Tina Keegan

Prehistoric Ecosystem Prototype:
Laser cutting by Kathryn Hedges
Wood finishing and detailing by Jasmin Ibarra Cortes

Prehistoric Ecosystem Final Design:
Illustration by Aaron Gregory
Graphic Design by James Davidson 

My role: Concept development, 2D & 3D design, prototyping

From The California Dinosaur Garden, coming in 2023, will be an immersive experience of the Cretaceous period in California. Life-size dinosaurs will accompany prehistoric plants, realistic animal sculptures, and interactive exhibits (hello fossil dig!) to create a uniquely engaging snapshot of life in California during the Cretaceous period. This exhibit will encourage imaginative outdoor play while stimulating curiosity and interest in this formulative period of California history.
1st iteration prototype at 1/2 scale
Prehistoric Ecosystem scale model: This 1/2 scale prototype compares the stature of California native dinosaurs with living fossil trees. This exhibit demonstrates biodiversity then and now, showing how dinosaurs were dwarfed by the giants in our own backyard. 
Final Iteration
Duck-billed Dinosaur Interactive: With each life-size dinosaur sculpture, (built by Blue Rhino Studio), there is an accompanying interpretive panel featuring an interactive element. Each interactive highlights one of the dinosaur's adaptations. Here, we discuss the topic of teeth, showing a cast of duck-billed dinosaur molars. An additional mirror invites the user to compare their own teeth with the duck-bill's. 
Pictured above: Early design concept with carnivore teeth to compare and contrast with the herbivore teeth. 
Pictured above: Early concept that would highlight skulls as sound resonance chambers. This idea was scrapped, as there is not enough evidence for this adaptation in Augustynolophus Morrisi. 
Hypsilophodon Interactive: This interactive demonstrates the role tails played to keep this dinosaur balanced. I built a weighted dinosaur swing that self-balances when tipped. During the process of prototyping, I learned that this interactive did not effectively communicate the concept with our young audience. The next version of this interactive will focus more on Hypsilophodon's small size as an adaptation. 
Cretaceous Era Tactile Map: This interactive superimposes modern day California and North America onto the Cretaceous era landmass, demonstrating how land and sea change over time. This map will be fully tactile and produced by LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 
For the prototype, Jasmin Ibarra Cortes raised borders and other map features with puff paint for a more tactile experience.  
Pictured above, I receive helpful feedback from one of our patrons.
Dinosaur Exhibit Prototypes

Dinosaur Exhibit Prototypes