Museums | Exhibits | Facilities |

The Machine Inside: Biomechanics

The Field Museum | Chicago, IL | 2016

Making its premiere at the Field Museum, The Machine Inside: Biomechanics offered visitors the opportunity to investigate and discover the many ways animals and plants are actually biological machines – built to survive and thrive – and how nature’s engineering has influenced ingenious man-made mechanics.

What It Was

Making its premiere at the Field Museum, The Machine Inside: Biomechanics offered visitors the opportunity to investigate and discover the many ways animals and plants are actually biological machines – built to survive and thrive – and how nature’s engineering has influenced ingenious man-made mechanics. This premiere was a chance to showcase the traveling exhibit and allow other institutions to see and experience the exhibit first hand.

What We Did

As it existed, the exhibit hall was a blank canvas for lighting. Ultimately, each of the exhibit elements was accented by the lighting. Certain sections of the exhibit were built as its own unit, differentiated by colored lighting, projected section titles on the floor, and similar lighting techniques to project images onto walls that showcased cell structures, circulatory systems, and more. As visitors traveled through the sections, lighting elements mimicked an atmosphere of cold or heat and underwater or drought, explaining how animals adapt to different environments. Animated lighting augmented the idea of animal senses through a spinning radar effect on the wall. Case lighting showcased exhibited artifacts, such as animal specimens. Numerous video components were also integrated into the exhibit, meaning the light had to be carefully coordinated to not interfere with video screens.

Why it Worked

Clear organization and an aim to involve visitors is what made the Biomechanics exhibit so successful. With clearly lit signage for each individual section – “Fins and Wings”, “Pumps and Pipes”, “Legs and Springs” – the exhibit is a fantastic discovery about nature’s influence on our own technology.