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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Clouded Leopard Exhibit Messaging Plan

We met this week with a sub-set of the design team to determine the interpretive messaging components for the new exhibit. We already had the messages pretty much determined so this meeting was a discussion of the types of media we'd be using and how to best place those elements at the exhibit. The budget is tight for this portion of the project so we have to keep things pretty simple. This exhibit will also be integrated into the rest of the existing Asian Forest Sanctuary which already has a comprehensive messaging plan. The primary story we want to tell here is about the role that Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is playing in the conservation of clouded leopards, both in the wild and in zoos.

These are the elements we'd like to see, but budget constraints may change our plans.
  • Video "highlight reel" of our programs: cubs at the Thailand breeding program (especially showcasing their amazing climbing ability for times when our are asleep!), range country education efforts, field research in action
  • A case with artifacts relating to research and education efforts
  • A graphics panel with an overview of our support of in situ conservation efforts
  • An fun, interactive donation station to support clouded leopard conservation

Another element that is starting to really gel is our concept of a multi-functional indoor space that can serve as a regular off exhibit holding enclosure but open up for viewing as a climate-controlled cub nursery (we're crossing those fingers). We're currently working on a plan to create a portion of the window where the glass can open to a mesh panel that can be used as a training space for presentations, bringing cats right up to the public to demonstrate behaviors such as paw presents or open mouths. Should be pretty cool!

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