Week 4: Vision Boards and Test Runs

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Friday, June 29, 2018


Kristen Larson

I can’t believe that an entire month has past by already! Time is going by so fast.

I started out this week by going on a supply run with Amanda N and Sarah C to a variety of stores to gather materials for my exhibit cases. After we finished purchasing our materials I had a plethora of fabric, paper, foam insulation and so much paint, finding a place for everything at my desk was quite the task. I then began doing a test run of the bubble paint method to figure out about the paint to dish soap/water ratio to achieve the exact color combination that I wanted. I took this information to compile an official vision board that I hang in my cube to always remind me where I am going and to give my mentors an idea of how things are coming together (picture below).

In the 2nd floor of the archives there is an exhibit prep area for two of the cases but not for the third case (the one located in the 1st floor gallery area), so I decided to turn my cube into a prep area with all the dimensions mapped out so I can have a better idea of how things are going to lay out and if I need more/less information. This is important because as I am wrapping up my research I want to include everything, but I also have to make smart decisions about which items are going to make the final cut. Because I would hate to try to fit all of it in when the cost would be that everything would then end up being too small. Kinda like when you have to take a group picture but the group is at least a 100 people so you just get lost in the crowd and everybody looks like they have a pinhead.. So yeah, I want to avoid that.

Again the rest of the week was filled with research, pulling out specific quotes for captions and audio excerpts. I also started looking into one of the niche aspects of the subject, which was architectural acoustics. Robert Shankland talked about how he got involved in the field and one of the world leaders in the subject, Wallace Sabine [fn1].

“When he [Wallace C. Sabine] was asked to design the acoustics of Boston Symphony Hall about 1900… When he was the acknowledged world leader in architectural acoustics, he was asked to design a new Symphony Hall for Boston. Well, what he did, he spent several summer vacations in Europe, listening to concerts in all the concert halls that he could find, talking to people and deciding which were the best. And after his detailed study, he decided that the Gewandhaus in Leipzig was the best one, and he came back and designed Boston with that as a model. Now, it doesn’t look like the Gewandhaus, but in architectural acoustics it’s very very close. And I think the humility of Wallace Sabine in his approach to that problem is something we can all learn a lot from. He could easily have told the Cabots and the Lodges, “Well, I’ll design something entirely new for you. It won’t be like anything in Philadelphia or anywhere.” And they’d have been pleased, I think. But that wasn’t his approach. He did this: successful designs always take all the information they can from earlier successful designs.”

After reading this I looked into the Gewandhaus and saw that there are actually three different buildings that have the same name so it took some research to narrow down which one Sabine studied, but I found that it was referred to the Neus Gewandhaus (English translation: New Concert House). The building is absolutely beautiful, however it is now no longer standing because of the air raids over Leipzig, Germany in 1943-1944. It is sad to think about all the destruction that war causes to peoples, locations and history, and I am seeing this more and more as I study sonar and its effects during AND after the war years.

On a lighter note, the SPS intern family got to have dinner with Michael Moloney, CEO of AIP. Once we got to the restroom I laid my stuff down at a chair and went to use the restroom, but when I got back I was surprised to see that I was sitting directly across from Michael himself! I was feeling quite intimidated but SPS is such a wonderful group that between the intern-family dynamics of the group and Michael’s friendly demeanor I was instantly comfortable again and we had a nice conversation around our end of the table.

I have been having so much fun getting to know D.C. but this weekend I am off to explore new ground! I am going to NYC for the first time. However I am excited to get back to D.C. for the Fourth of July, I just have this feeling that celebrating Independence Day on the National Mall is going to be a once in a lifetime event and I can’t wait to experience it.

fn1: Collection #OH4886, Interview of Robert Shankland by Loyd S. Swenson, Jr. on 1974 August 20, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/4886-1


Vision Board for the Exhibit Cases
My cubicle with the case dimensions on the divider.

Kristen Larson