Mobile Museum 2015

Call for participation: UI Mobile Museum 2015

On behalf of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED), the Pentacrest Museums and Office of the State Archaeologist invite UI departments to participate in the development of exhibits for the 2015 UI Mobile Museum.  The Mobile Museum, which is sponsored by OVPRED, is a custom-built 38-foot RV housing object-based physical exhibits and digital touchscreen stations.  It travels throughout Iowa for outreach and education events; this year’s venues included the Iowa State Fair, RAGBRAI, county fairs, and school and library presentations, among many others.  In the first six months of the project the Mobile Museum will have reached over 30,000 visitors in 36 counties in Iowa, and we expect these numbers to increase each year.  This project is a wonderful way to present important research that affects people all across the state of Iowa in a fun and engaging manner.  It also provides an excellent forum for faculty to highlight the broader impacts of their research.

There are two ways to get involved, through a physical exhibit or through touchscreen digital content (physical exhibits may also be accompanied by digital content).  Physical Mobile Museum exhibits will be replaced each winter, with each new set displayed for an entire summer season.  Digital touchscreen content may be added more frequently, and will generally be displayed for more than one year.  The Mobile Museum team seeks a combination of compelling exhibits from across the humanities, arts, and sciences at the University of Iowa.

Departments, faculty, or staff interested in exhibiting in the Mobile Museum should submit a 1-2 page proposal explaining why your research is appropriate for the Mobile Museum and what makes it particularly interesting or relevant to Iowans.  The following points should also be addressed in all proposals.  Mock-ups or sketches of exhibits and other visuals (in digital format) are welcome as part of idea submissions.

For those interested in developing a physical exhibit:

  • Provide the basic storyline of the research or exhibit content.
  • How would your work resonate with a public audience?
  • What objects or types of objects could be presented with your exhibit?
  • What photos, videos, or other media could you provide that would help tell the story of your research?
  • What, if any, non-digital interactive or hands-on components could be included with the exhibit?
  • What, if any, digital interactive content could be included with the exhibit?
  • What resources (financial, in-kind effort, volunteerism) can you contribute to the exhibit?
  • Would you be willing to accompany the Mobile Museum occasionally to provide subject matter expertise?

For those interested in developing digital-only content:

  • Provide the basic storyline of the research and exhibit content.
  • Explain how the multitouch capabilities of the 46-inch touchscreens would be used and how visitors would interact with your content.
  • What resources already exist, and what elements would require development?

With all proposals, include a contact person and identify participants anticipated to be involved (including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff as appropriate for your proposal). Mobile Museum staff will assist each selected departmental team with final exhibit design.  

If you are interested in this opportunity or have questions about the project, please contact J.C. Gillett, the Mobile Museum Educator, at and be sure to visit the Mobile Museum and exhibit planning pages for information on and photos of the 2014 exhibits.

All proposals are due by November 1st and can be emailed to J.C. Gillett.

The timeline for final exhibit planning and development is as follows:

  • November 1: Proposals due
  • By December 1: Exhibits for 2015 chosen and departments notified
  • By January 15: Draft written content due; objects selected.
  • By February 1: Final written content due.
  • February-March: Exhibit design finalized; component fabrication; printing; installation.
  • April 1: Mobile Museum 2015 ready for travel.

The timeline for some digital-only exhibits may be more flexible, as digital content can be added throughout the year.  Please contact the Mobile Museum Educator with questions.


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