About James Jensen
I have devoted my career to the museum field, primarily leading multidisciplinary teams in the creative development and project management of interpretive exhibit, media, and programmatic experiences. This work has included time at history and cultural heritage institutions, a leading children’s museum, an interactive science museum, as well as projects with exhibit planning and design consultancies.
My work has focused on understanding visitor’s existing knowledge bases and desires, extensive prototyping exercises, and measuring learning outcomes related to museum experiences, and applying this knowledge to exhibit development and design. Participatory and co-design projects have since followed, including design research to imagine what a future history centre might look like, and projects to co-curate exhibit content.
Latest Project - Huron County Museum Industry Gallery
1. The Project
In 2021, the planning and design team headed by Jensen Design was engaged to collaborate with the staff of the Huron County Museum (HCM) and lead the phased exhibition development process for the industry gallery. Working with a modest budget, the scope of work includes content research, interpretive planning, exhibit and graphic design, development of media and hands-on experiences, and production of drawings for fabrication and installation.
HCM developed and introduced a new five year Strategic Plan in 2019. This plan articulates the need to engage with more people to increase a shared understanding of the County’s culture. To achieve this, HCM identified a strategic direction to “create dynamic exhibits that generate interest and attention”.
The industry gallery was selected as the first exhibit to undergo the redevelopment and redesign process.
3. Planning Workshops
Workshops have been conducted via Zoom, due to meeting restrictions resulting from COVID-19. These sessions have explored HCM's hopes and dreams for the exhibit, content organization, goals, and possible hands-on and media experiences. Visitor personas were created to help filter ideas to ensure they would engage the intended museum audiences.
5. Content Research
Significant content research into industry in Huron County using primary and secondary sources was undertaken, as available information from HCM was limited. This involved assembling a comprehensive listing of post-settler contact industrial concerns, organized into the content areas that had been defined for the exhibit. Additional research was also conducted to integrate appropriate Indigenous content - such as canoe building and pottery. Indigenous advisors will further develop this content.
4. Audience Research
HCM had conducted community consultations in 2017 with the intent of exploring with participants a variety of Lake Huron based topics as preferences for the industry gallery. Additional analysis of the data and results was done in 2021 to further inform the development and design process.
6. Interpretive Plan
A working interpretive plan is currently under review and being fine-tuned in consultation with HCM staff. It lays out the 'Big Idea,' or mission of the exhibit, goals, content organization, and includes detailed matrices for each content area.
7. Graphic Design
Graphic design work, guided by the interpretive plan, is now under way.
8. Exhibit Design
The exhibit space is now in the Design Development phase, integrating content, artifacts, and media. The space is fully AODA compliant, and features an immersive visit below Lake Huron to the Compass Minerals salt mine.