Royal Tyrrell Museum: Learning Lounge
The Hands-On Learning Lounge is a social space and a discovery gallery giving visitors a chance to touch and experience its charismatic star, a life-sized bronze cast of Albertosaurus, a gateway to the world of dinosaurs.
- Royal Tyrrell Museum
- Hands-On Learning Lounge
- 2,000 sq. ft.
- Exhibit Design, Graphic Design
- Year Completed
R&P was asked to address a specific objective at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. Visitor feedback indicated a strong desire for specific new experiences: “More hands-on experiences; more rest spaces; a café /lounge within the galleries; more programming spaces with enhanced facilities”. To meet these objectives, the Museum asked R&P to develop a Hands-On Learning Lounge in the middle of the existing set of galleries. The new Lounge would offer ample space for visitors to rest and snack, while providing lots of hand-on learning. Touch-based activities would be ample and participation encouraged. The Lounge should reward visitors’ engagement and support repeat visitation. The Lounge should also introduce and reinforce scientific concepts while making them approachable and enjoyable. The exhibits would be widely accessible to diverse visitors.
The Learning Lounge is a new paradigm of the museum experience. Situated in the middle of the museum journey, this bright and airy 2,500-square-foot permanent gallery encourages active, self-directed, interactive learning for all ages. It’s also a space where visitors get a restful break from the Museum journey. Here, they can rest, have a snack or a coffee, interact with digital media and touch the many cast specimens.
The star of the gallery is a life-sized, tactile bronze cast of the Albertosaurus, a genus of a Cretaceous tyrannosaur that lived in western North America; specifically what is now Alberta, Canada. Visitors can get close to this unique dinosaur from angles they have never seen before, including a glass-topped crawl-thru below the lumbering creature. Digital and mechanical interactives throughout the Lounge allow visitors to learn about many aspects in the development of Albertosaurus. Ample seating, vibrant graphics, and stunning vistas of the Alberta landscape complete the visitor’s Learning Lounge experience.
What sets the Learning Lounge apart from other galleries is the dynamic mix of content inspired by the preceding “Journey Through Time” galleries. In the Lounge, visitors can apply their newly-acquired knowledge from the museum journey by exploring the interactive exhibits.
Bold graphics draw the visitor in to discover this new space. Interactive settings invite visitors to compare anatomy between dinosaurs and modern species. A dinosaur race allows visitors to select specific dinosaurs and test their mobility and speed against others. Build-a-dinosaur explores anatomy, asking visitors to explore movement and morphology, and try to invent a new type of dinosaur. As a highlight, Dinosaur AR Viewers give visitors a chance to use Augmented Reality to journey directly into the landscape of cretaceous Alberta, and experience the amazing range of species that surround them.
The Learning Lounge is an entirely new type of gallery that is a social space, a café and a learning experience, as well as a space that invites previously incompatible activities to happily co-exist. The gallery will continue to place the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology at the forefront of innovation.
The goal for this gallery was to create a space that is entirely unique to the Royal Tyrrell and ideally suited to the client’s vision. The Lounge is the only gallery in the Museum where visitors learn about the Albertosaurus, the Museum’s signature specimen. The Learning Lounge is also fully accessible and family-friendly, appealing to all ages. It is a place to rest, eat and explore.
As a powerful asset in stakeholder communications and fundraising/development, R&P was committed to seeing the successful project to completion. The intensive development process included workshops and drop-ins with Museum executives and the board of directors, corporate sponsors, Museum curatorial, programming and education staff, volunteers, Museum members/visitors, and external advisory groups to consult on such matters as accessibility.