Museums | Exhibits | Shedd Aquarium |

At Home on the Great Lakes

John G. Shedd Aquarium | John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL | 2013

Guests can quite literally reach out and touch the natural history of the Great Lakes at the Shedd Aquarium’s new “At Home on the Great Lakes” exhibit.

What It Was

Guests can quite literally reach out and touch the natural history of the Great Lakes at the Shedd Aquarium’s new “At Home on the Great Lakes” exhibit. The permanent attraction features roughly 60 species from the region, including sturgeon, a prehistoric type of fish that visitors are encouraged to “pet” while it swims in an open tank. The exhibit also includes interactive information stations that teach guests about the various species and a story booth that allows them to record their own narratives about the region.

What We Did

After the exhibit opened, the aquarium decided to revamp the lighting to better facilitate their goal of engaging and entertaining guests. Long-time Shedd collaborator Lightswitch was called in to upgrade the existing lighting system. To improve visibility and legibility we adjusted the light levels throughout the exhibit. We removed unnecessary track heads from overhead and swapped shadowy, glare-inducing lights for low-wattage LEDs that offer clean, even illumination of signage and graphics. The changes not only enhanced the exhibit’s functionality—they also improved the overall guest experience.

Why It Worked

Our design responds to the needs of both animals and humans. Having previously partnered with Shedd to illuminate a variety of animal habitats, we were sensitive to the unique needs of the species on display. At the same time, our design captured the fun, immersive quality that Shedd strives to bring to all of its exhibits. Photos © Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez