Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When it all works out

How often do things work out just the way you want them to, with a minimum of fuss and bother? In the museum exhibit business, there's usually no shortage of haggling and hand wringing between the revelation of an idea and the Big Opening. But every once in a while we get lucky.

The new reading rail on the pedestrian bridge overlooking the pond at Cafe Brauer, at Lincoln Park Zoo, is one of those lucky projects. Step 1: A simple idea. People walking across the bridge see the gorgeous Chicago skyline in the background. Let's put a "map" of the skyline right at their fingertips so they know what they're looking at. Step 2: Museum Explorer creates concept drawings.

Step 3: Chicago Architecture Foundation generously shares existing graphics files with the metal fabricator so no one has to re-invent the wheel, i.e., create new scale measurements and drawings for each building. Step 4: The metal fabricator builds the reading rail just the way we drew it.

Step 5: Bingo! People love it.

The bridge over the pond is part of the larger Nature Boardwalk project at Lincoln Park Zoo. Catch up on Nature Boardwalk news and see great photos of plants and animals that live there: check out the blog written by Vicky Hunt, the zoo's coordinator of wildlife management. Barbara Brotman of the Chicago Tribune wrote a recent column about Nature Boardwalk; take a look at it here.

Or better yet, hop on the train or the bus and head out to Lincoln Park Zoo, wander around, and see the Nature Boardwalk--and much more--for yourself. Can't beat the admission price: it's free.

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