The Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Indiana is getting rave reviews — and it’s just getting started. The Indianapolis Star has called it “a piece of Disney right in Indiana” and “…the fury version of Cooperstown.” That’s very impressive coverage for a museum that only just opened for visitors in December 2018.
A hearty congratulations from Chicago Scenic to founder and museum visionary, David Raymond, mayor of Whiting, Joseph M. Stahura, and the excellent Hall of Fame team.
Why mascots—and why a hall of fame? The museum is Raymond’s brainchild and he’s pursued the vision for 14 years. Chicago Scenic also is giving a shout-out to our fellow collaborators on the museum—including the talented people at JRA, the Cincinnati attraction design firm that we partnered with on the 25,000 sq. ft. facility.
The Mascot Hall of Fame features state-of-the-art exhibits, activities, and events that celebrate the unique appeal and fun of mascots for sports teams.
Chicago Scenic’s team of fabricators spent six months building the seven exhibits that make for a highly interactive and fun family-oriented experience – each of which features a fun, playful name including Fuzzical Education, Fureshman Orientation, Science of Silliness, Marvelous Mascot Maker, Mascot Studies, The Furry Arts, and Frankenfur’s Mascots.
The Hall of Fame comes to life at a special time for Chicago Scenic, as we celebrate our 40th year in business. It turns out, you learn a whole lot in four decades. We’ve spent some time recently pulling together many key ideas and insights that we’ve had in that time—you’ll hear more about what we have planned soon, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, here are a few important insights that helped guide our work on the Mascot Hall of Fame and that we draw on in museums primarily targeting children:
- Kids are tough customers: Nothing beats kids when they’re engaged and having fun. But the biggest challenge in creating for children is this: Kids explore everything and they don’t hold back. They put things in their mouths, they put things in their ears. They smell, they taste — they push it, spin it, turn it, bang on it. Exhibits and installations for kids have to stand up to all that—and more. Building it for kids? Take your worst fears about making things last and multiply them times 10.
- Science, With a Side of Art: When it comes to interactive children’s exhibits, today’s focus is all about STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and STEAM (add in “art”). Starting with those principles provides the meat of the interaction. Add the magic of theatre and ensure that the exhibits are intuitive and you create an engaging opportunity that children will enjoy and revisit. Science, art, theatre: an uncommon and powerful combination.
- Great Teams – Not Lone Wolves: It’s a fact: more innovations come from teams and groups than from a lone genius. Excellent collaboration is essential — great teams are fueled by people working together effectively. Excellent project managers are essential — and the best of them know how to help a team surface great ideas and balance competing interests, budgets, and client demands. Build the Best Team: More Heads are better than one.
Mascot Hall of Fame Credits: JRA (design); Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc. (project management, fabrication and installation).; Trivium, Northern Light, & Electrosonic (AV/Media).