What does it take to build an exhibit that can it into a trailer and travel the country? Take a peek into our exhibit fabrication shop to find out!
Step inside an ordinary-looking warehouse tucked into the industrial district along Portland’s Willamette River, and you’ll find yourself in another world — our world.
A life-size replica of a Pteranodon hangs from the ceiling, keeping watch over a sea of prototypes and experiments. Power tools buzz away, bringing wild ideas and scientific research to life. And a parade of colorful, expertly-crafted exhibit components stand in the wings, preparing to hit the road.
Welcome to the exhibit fabrication shop — the epicenter of imagination at OMSI, where we develop immersive learning experiences for our own museum and museums across the continent. We’re one of the few museums in North America with such a robust onsite production space, and after more than 35 years, we’ve got it down to…well, a science!
We create our exhibits through a collaborative process that brings tons of brilliant people together — from our own in-house research and design teams to wise community partners and imaginative exhibit fabricators. Together, we ask: how do we take some of the most important and impactful scientific topics and turn them into fun, immersive experiences?
Whether we’re creating an exhibit that’ll stay here at OMSI or travel thousands of miles, our goal is to activate as many of your senses as possible. The feeling of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake; the smell of permafrost tunnels; the sound of Indigenous voices telling traditional Native stories. It’s all about finding ways to make sure the science and stories inspire you long after you leave the museum floor. And it all starts here!