Mars is almost here.

Crews are busy installing Facing Mars this week before the exhibit opens on Saturday, June 2!

Crews are busy installing Facing Mars this week before the exhibit opens on Saturday, June 2!

By: Allison Schwanebeck, SCI Traveling Exhibits Manager

DaVinci. The human body. Ancient Egypt. Mars.  

Learning about a variety of subjects has always been one of my favorite things about working at SCI.  As traveling exhibits manager, it’s my job to learn about new things as we prepare for a new exhibit. I get to dive into a topic and learn as much as possible, and right now, I’m all about Mars.

Did you know that sunsets on Mars are typically blue because of the dust particles in the atmosphere? How cool is that?!

I also get to work with an amazing team of people from many of the different departments within SCI to create a fun, unique and engaging experience for each exhibit. Typically, the SCI team works on a traveling exhibit for six months to a year planning, developing, scheduling, designing and implementing what you will experience when you visit one of our traveling exhibits. (Funny enough, that’s about the amount of time it would take to travel to Mars!)

The last month before opening is always the busiest. On average, we spend two weeks packing up the exhibit that just closed and sending it off to the next museum. It always amazes me that taking down an exhibit goes so quickly after all of the hard work that goes into setting it up. When installing an exhibit, everything needs to go like clockwork. We spend the week before the exhibit arrives preparing the space with painting, lighting and any other special needs that the exhibit may require. The trucks carrying the exhibit arrive two weeks before opening, and it is full steam ahead unpacking crates, building the exhibit components and putting everything in its proper place.

Right now, we are just days away from the opening day of Facing Mars, and I think this is one of the most exciting times for the SCI team. Everything is in motion, the exhibit is getting the finishing touches, staff and volunteers are being trained and experiments are being finalized.

Would you go to Mars? I hope the answer is yes, because we are so excited to share Facing Mars with you! The exhibit opens this Saturday!

Allison Schwanebeck is SCI’s Traveling Exhibits Manager. As part of her job, Allison researches potential traveling exhibits, then helps execute the planning, installation and operations of the exhibits selected for SCI to host. Allison has worked at SCI since June 2007, when she started as a Programs Presenter.