A forward looking memorial raises awareness for our current environmental crisis. Academy Studios recently completed a project with renowned artist Maya Lin regarding the current crisis surrounding biodiversity. Measuring 19 feet long by 8.5 feet high, the piece entitled "What is missing?"was unveiled in September 2009 on the East Terrace of the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Keeping with the bone theme, Academy Studios has been contracted by artist Marc Swanson to articulate and mount a life-size skeleton, and from that create a bronze skeleton as a memorial to the American Bison. Mr. Swanson was commissioned by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City to develop a piece that speaks to the history of the Great Plains. His proposal of a memorial to the great bison herds was enthusiastically accepted and is now close to completion. A set of real bones arrived this past spring and was articulated by Academy Studios' team to the artist's satisfaction. Then it was disassembled in manageable sections for molding and bronze casting. Once the patina is done, the bison, standing 9 feet high on it's base, will head for Missouri in time for a November 2010 installation on a custom stone base in front of the Museum.
Currently hanging ominously over our Studios is yet another Blue Whale skeleton, measuring 76 feet long, 13 ft. wide, and 15 ft. high. It’s home for 20 years has been the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. As part of a larger renovation project Academy Studios has been contracted to rehabilitate and rearticulate the blue whale skeleton. Earlier this year it was decommissioned by a combined team of museum curators and Academy Studios technicians and shipped in pieces up to Novato for an extreme makeover. Every bone has been stripped and strengthened. Unfortunately, the head proved to have suffered too much decay over the years so a new one (resulting from a ship strike) was harvested and cleaned by SBNHM. Under the scrupulous guidance of Paul Collins, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, painstaking measures have been taken to ensure that the articulation of this mount is the most accurate in the U.S. today.
Academy Studios recently designed and fabricated the new Marine Education Center for our local Año Nuevo State Reserve, offering an immersive experience into the deep-sea world of the elephant seals. Año Nuevo State Beach is a local landing point for thousands of majestic Elephant Seals every year offering a unique opportunity for nature enthusiasts of all ages to meet get to know these marine giants. Head on out to Año Nuevo State Park and explore the lives of elephant seals that are often concealed beneath the sea.
The new doors of the California Academy of Science’s are open—drawing international acclaim and setting new standards in environmental architecture and museum exhibitions. Academy Studios was contracted to fabricate a number of exhibits, including fabrication of scientifically accurate dioramas for the African Hall, design/fabrication of a 90 ft. long Blue Whale skeleton suspended from a 53 foot tall ceiling, 12 Steinhart Aquarium tank inserts and more. Our team also designed various interstitial exhibits including the interactive Collections and Projects Lab areas, the Children’s Gallery and the interactive Green Wall that features the California Academy of Science’s efforts and explores the “green” building technologies they used. Our exhibition experiences employ cutting edge use of interactive media technologies to immerse and engage the visitor. Come participate in this inspiring museum experience.
Academy Studios has been selected by Save Ellis Island, Inc. to design the first phase of exhibitions to interpret the un-restored hospital buildings on Ellis Island. This first exhibit will showcase the Laundry/Hospital Outbuilding, telling the story of the people who worked there and the role of the laundry in controlling the spread of disease in the largest U. S. Public Health Service hospital at the time. Save Ellis Island is the National Park Service non-profit partner to raise the funds to restore the twenty-nine un-used buildings. Future exhibits will include a measles ward, powerhouse, laboratory and recreation building.
Academy Studios has formed a company with Met Studio of London; Academy MET International, or MASi. MASi is currently designing and fabricating an exciting new experience that is all about bugs. Visitors will be able to engage with live and fabricated bugs in a variety of interactive experiences. This facility will feature a 360 degree introductory theater experience, a number of recreated bug habitats including a tropical forest, the Savannah grasslands, a desert, water and “your” home, 20+ interactive exhibits and hands-on bug encounters. This experience aims to offer visitors of all ages a fun and engaging opportunity explore and appreciate insects.
“From Bauhaus to Bow-Wows,” a recent article in Interior Design by Laura Fisher Kaiser exposes a playful side of sophisticated design firms across the country through their mascots. Academy Studios boasts a unique team of design and fabrication professionals complimented by a crew of canine companions that keep staff on-task and wagging their tails. Sully, an Academy Studios’ founding member and top dog featured in the article, has long been a “working-dog” accompanying his owner and company President, Dean Weldon. Dogs in the work place surely bring a bit of humor to the workplace, but they can also be a source of aesthetic inspiration, perspective and discipline. Check out the article to see the important place of working dogs in the design world.
In the Spring of 2008 Academy Studios formed a business partnership with MET Studio, a London based Exhibit Design firm creating a team to provide services for world-class educational experiences. The new partnership business is called MET/Academy Studios International, or "MASI." MASI is currently developing a new project-- "The BugWorld Experience," an insectarium to open in Liverpool UK May 2009.
The world's largest museum dedicated solely to the exhibition of insects has opened in New Orleans after years of project delay to due the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Academy Studios was contracted by the Audubon nature Institute back in 2003 for design and fabrication services for their new Insectarium. The damages of Katrina to the city put the project on hold and now five years later, the waters have receded and the Insectarium is finally open. Don’t miss this one of a kind insect museum with immersive visitor experiences and interactives, featuring insect based culinary attractions, oversized fabricated bugs that line the halls, a tranquil butterfly garden and more.
The opening of the Alcatraz Landing Exhibit marks the completion of phase one of this exciting and significant local project. Academy Studios was contracted for the design and fabrication services for this exhibit by Alcatraz Cruises and the National Parks Service. Alcatraz island and prison hold international acclaim, drawing millions of visitors from around the world to San Francisco to explore this historical landmark. Come see the history, drama and lure of this prolific San Francisco icon through our comprehensive, dynamic and engaging Alcatraz Landing experience.
Happy anniversary Academy Studios! In August Dean Weldon and his staff threw a bash in celebration of 20 years in the exhibit making business. After two decades of hard work, the shop was filled with all kinds of folks from the past and present, enjoying BBQ, cake and a few libations. 250 projects successfully completed in 26 states nationally and 6 countries internationally. Congratulations Academy Studios.
Marin Rocks & Rolls
San Rafael, CA
Like Music? Then don't miss this. Marin and the Bay Area has long been a significant and historical region of artistic innovation and its legacy as such continues. Academy Studios is currently developing a musical experience for visitors of all ages to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for Marin's critical roll in the blossoming of Rock & Roll music. Keep your ears open as the beat builds and be sure to come and check out the tunes that keep Marin rockin'.
Mississippi River State Park Arkansas
Arkansas State Parks
St. Francis Forest State Park, Arkansas
To Open Fall 2009
A country’s divide and union by way of the great water highways of the Mississippi River Valley. Academy Studios is currently in the process of designing an engaging and immersive guest experience for the new Mississippi River State Park's visitor center located in Arkansas St. Francis Forest. Academy Studios was contracted for design and fabrication services for this project by the Arkansas State Parks. Don't miss your chance to discover the wealth of cultural and natural history that culminates in Arkansas in this unique upcoming visitor experience.
To open in Winter of 2009
The new Alcatraz Traveling Exhibit is underway and will becoming to your home city soon. Alcatraz Cruises and the National Parks Service have contracted academy Studios to design and fabricate a traveling visitor experience of Alcatraz Island. This exhibit is being designed to bring the excitement and lure of this prolific "Rock" to museums across the country for people to enjoy without having to travel to San Francisco. Visitors will experience a complete journey through Alcatraz’s history and various occupiers and occupies. Don’t miss this first time ever traveling Alcatraz Island experience when it hits the road.