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Fish 2.0

by | Jun 22, 2016 | Expansion

Old Favorites Retire

It’s your last chance to say goodbye to our atrium fish and many other iconic museum experiences.

Old Favorites Return…

We understand that visitors will miss some of their favorite experiences that close the end of the summer. Don’t worry — not everything will be gone for good! The queen ant is retiring to the Backyard, the flying fish will return in a new capacity and the turtle shell is moving to our Rochester museum. We are carefully reusing many exhibit materials from our current museum to both save money and be respectful of the environment and our footprint. See below for our design reuse philosophy.

With our renovation, there are fantastic amenities and exhibits to look forward to:

But there’s still time to come in and play with old favorites. Make some time to visit and post your photos to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #PlayMoreMN and #MCMFishonTour.

Wish the Fish A Fond Farewell

The atrium fish came down after our October groundbreaking, but live on onllne. After 21 years flying over children at the museum, one of our fish, whom we named Alice Pescado, is going on a world tour.

Can you even imagine the stories Alice heard from the millions of children who have played underneath her? The stories inspired Alice and her friends to dream big! Like many true adventurers she’s been writing her bucket list of places to visit in St. Paul (and around the world):  Candyland, the Farmers Market, a dish of Pho and, of course, a swim in the mighty Mississippi!

Follow her adventures online (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) as she begins her world tour starting in St. Paul, June 23.

Design Reuse Philosophy:  An Interview with Senior Exhibit Designer, Christopher Lee

What is our design philosophy around re-use?

The museum hopes to help fuel lifelong curiosity and creative thinking in our visitors so that they can contribute to the world around them. We try, as an institution, to embody those values as well so where better to focus our curiosity and creative thinking then to the problems of waste – and the potential for sustainability – that face any new construction? If we can learn by doing during the expansion, we’ll contribute something to the growing body of knowledge of greener construction/fabrication methods. That could benefit the museum, the city, and many generations of museum visitors along the way.

What is the environmental impact perspective on re-use?

New construction is always resource intensive but, with thoughtful planning, the museum and its partners have made efforts to reduce the impact of the expansion project. Since we are working towards the best possible balance between visitor experience and sustainability, the new museum will have all new exhibits (of course!) but visitors who look closely may recognize components and pieces from some old favorites as well.

How are we re-using the fish and why?

There’s still some uncertainty about this. The fish themselves have been a colorful and iconic part of the museum and for that reason there’s interest in seeing them return to the new museum in some fashion. But all those years on display has put a lot of wear and tear on the sculptures and so we’re looking at several different possibilities for how they may show up in the future. That could range from refurbishing them to only partially displaying those in the best condition to even introducing a whole new school; Fish 2.0!

What have we re-purposed in the past and how?

Several times we’ve been able to take exhibits that were popular here and, even though they weren’t built to be traveling shows, used the components to recreate them in Rochester for even more people to enjoy. The Ipe wood flooring from the art space on the rooftop has been salvaged and made into countertops for the Resource Island in the Studio. We re-used the motor from the top of the crane in World Works to power the bike prototype that was on the floor in Mini Our World.

What are some other things the museum is planning to re-use in the future?

There are too many examples to name them all but here are a few to illustrate our efforts to date:

  • Many of the components from the World Works factory (conveyors, chutes, rollers, etc.) will have a new life in Our World as package sorting machinery in the post office.
  • The sculpted animals, and possibly the trees they live in, will be moving from Earth World to Our World as well.
  • The Studio Express/Disco Studio green screen experience will have another life in the space as will the ball machine from World Works.
  • The Shadow Dome from the Rooftop ArtPark is planned to reappear in the Backyard as is the queen ant from Earth World.


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