Monday, January 31, 2011

Introducing "Brother Earth" - Brother Industries acquires naming rights of new fulldome planetarium of Nagoya City Science Museum

Nagoya, Japan, Jan 31, 2011 -- Brother Industries, Ltd. announced that it entered into an agreement with Nagoya city to acquire the naming rights of the newly constructed planetarium dome of Nagoya City Science Museum. The name "Brother Earth" is given for this planetarium dome, which is scheduled to be opened on March 19, 2011. 

Brother promotes manufacturing, scientific and technological developments within the community by providing educational events for children to experience product-manufacturing or offering sponsorships and donations for the local facilities and community groups such as Nagoya City Science Museum. The company considers the planetarium as a special place to inspire children and impart to them a better understanding about space science and technology.

"Brother Earth" is a slogan denoting the Brother Group's environmental activity and ideals. 
According to Sky-Skan: "The world's largest planetarium is set to open in Nagoya, Japan with a stunning Definiti 8K digital dome display system! The planetarium seats 350. The dome diameter is 35 meters (115 ft.), making it the largest planetarium/fulldome theater in the world. Sky-Skan worked with its partner Konica Minolta for this project."

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NASA Returns to Hemphill, Texas for Opening of new Patricia Huffman Smith Museum

HOUSTON, Texas USA /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two events, including the opening of a new space-themed museum, to honor the space shuttle Columbia and her crew are planned in Hemphill, Texas on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Both events are open to the media and public.

At 7:45 a.m. CST the Sabine County Columbia Memorial Committee and the J.R. Huffman Public Library will host the eighth annual memorial for the STS-107 space shuttle mission at the First Baptist Church in Hemphill at 301 Highway 87 South. 

NASA speakers at the event include Gerry Schumann, of NASA Headquarters in Washington, and Debbie Awtonomow, of Kennedy Space Center, Fla. They were NASA leaders on-location in Hemphill during the Columbia recovery process.

At 11 a.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Patricia Huffman Smith Museum, "Remember Columbia," will be held. The museum is located at 375 Sabine Street. The 3,400-square-foot museum houses the story of space exploration, space related artifacts, a digital learning center and informational items about NASA's space program. 
Johnson Space Center Director Michael L. Coats is scheduled to speak at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

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Obstacle cleared for development of Armenian Genocide Museum in Washington DC

Gerard L Cafesjian (Cafesjian Center for the Arts)
WASHINGTON, DC /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Cafesjian Family Foundation (CFF) welcomed the decision by the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia that the National Bank of Washington building and other contiguous properties revert to the Foundation under the terms of a 2003 grant agreement. The January 26 ruling opens the way for development of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial in the heart of the nation's capital, a project the federal court called a "laudable goal."

"I am gratified by this decision," said President and CEO Gerard L. Cafesjian, adding that "the more significant vision for the Museum and Memorial can proceed without attempts to lessen the impact of the museum."

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

St Louis Arch Grounds redesign: interview with Tom Bradley

Rendering: MVVA
Jan 30, 2011 -- interview by Doug Moore in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Q: Now there is a plan in place and a cost associated with it, what is the next step?

A: With a tweaked concept, now we kind of go into design this year with much specificity. And also we sort of re-engage with the public and get their sense of what they think we're doing. That will consume a lot of 2011.

Q: The big question is the money. Where do you get $500 million to $600 million?

A: The concept is there would be appropriations (for public funds) requested largely for transportation, which would be the lid over I-70, street improvements in St. Louis and to Illinois Route 3. Some of our projects could be bonded. For example, the gondola (line). Lastly, philanthropy could pick up some of this.

Tom Bradley is superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the official name of the federal park that includes the iconic monument and the historic domed building.

Read the full interview.

Related: Public meeting in St Louis conveys latest news on Arch Grounds redesign

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana Celebrates Grand Opening of its First All-Inclusive Property in Caribbean

ORLANDO, Florida USA /PRNewswire/ -- Hard Rock International makes a splash in the Caribbean and rolls out the red carpet to celebrate the grand opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, located in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 29, 2011. The lush, 121-acre property located on Macao Beach is Hard Rock's first all-inclusive Hotel & Casino and marks the brand's debut in the Caribbean

"This first all-inclusive Caribbean Hotel & Casino property marks a major milestone for our brand that started with just a single cafe opening in 1971," said Michael Shindler, Executive Vice President, Hotels & Casinos.  "As we celebrate Hard Rock's 40th anniversary in 2011, we look forward to our Hotels & Casinos' growth, while staying true to our music vibe and rock 'n' roll roots." 

"We are thrilled to be in partnership with Hard Rock International to offer the world's first ever all-inclusive Hard Rock experience," said Palace Resorts President and Owner Roberto Chapur. "The level of superior service mixed with the energetic Hard Rock atmosphere will undoubtedly set a new standard in the Caribbean."  

(888) 762-5002
The 1,800-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana provides an endless array of personal services, enticing outdoor activities and entertainment options. Guests and the general public test their luck at the hotel's 48,000-square foot venue. Avid and amateur gamers alike can go all-in at the casino's exclusive high-limit poker room, VIP lounge, race and sports book, or any of the 457 slot machines and 40 gaming tables. Late night features entertainment at Oro nightclub, modeled to rival Las Vegas and Miami's finest nightclubs with more than 10,000 square feet across two levels, intelligent show lighting and award-winning Funktion One sound. Adding to the dramatics is its signature two-story LED wall consisting of more than 300 individual LED screens and the first ever infinity edge bar. Oro was conceived by Francois Frossard.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana was created by acclaimed design firm 555 International and helmed by Vice President of Design Karen Herold and President and Founder James Geier, the design team at 555 focused on combining Hard Rock's established rock appeal with a modernized flare of contemporary design touched by ornate details. The grand opening will unveil 555's latest venture with a series of three nightspots and individual Rockstar Suite. GETTYS – global hospitality design, procurement and development firm – was also a key partner in resort design.

About Hard Rock International
With a total of 171 venues in 52 countries, including 134 cafes and 15 Hotels/Casinos, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. In addition to the two flagship Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos are located in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Orlando, Chicago, San Diego, Pattaya, Bali, Macau, Penang, Singapore and Punta Cana.  Additional hotel and casino projects have been announced in Panama, scheduled to open in 2012; and Hungary, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2013.  Hard Rock International is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blaine Helmick Named Technomedia Director of Information and Creative Technologies

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Technomedia Solutions, a leading provider of creative advanced interactive, media, and audio visual technology design and integration services announced today that Blaine Helmick has joined the team as Director of Information and Creative Technologies.  

Helmick came to Technomedia in early 2011 to assist with evolving technology and infrastructure while expanding creative opportunities for emerging trends in the marketplace. Helmick provides multiple support functions for internal staff in addition to engaging external customers. Prior to joining Technomedia, he worked as the Chief Technology Officer for Promo Only as a development pioneer, combining innate technical aptitude with stellar business acumen to drive business and generate growth. Helmick commanded a top-flight, collaborative technology team of five, overseeing multi-site IT operations and multimedia production across five offices and in three countries. 

John Miceli, President and Chief Creative Officer, stated, "We see the addition of Blaine as a firm statement of our plans for 2011 and the commitment to widen our internal capabilities for the interactive and high-end innovative projects that combine advanced Audiovisual and Information Technology. His experience in media creation, management, automation and innovative programming bring Technomedia one of the key components in its new evolution. We have already opened up doors by enhancing our immersive, mapping and interactive technologies and media!"

Technomedia project territory includes a recently completed major attraction at a prominent Orlando theme park as well as notable projects in Istanbul, China and Abu Dhabi. The Company serves a variety of industries, including the theme park, museum, restaurant, retail, corporate, military, performing arts, digital cinema, theatrical, and educational markets.  Technomedia is expanding operations at its offices in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi, and at its worldwide headquarters in Orlando during 2011.

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Greater Cleveland Aquarium to break ground Feb 2 - $33 million first phase

According to a Jan 27, 2011 report in Crain's Cleveland Business:

"An e-mailed invitation is announcing the Feb. 2, 2011 groundbreaking for the $33 million first phase of what's being called the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. It will be housed in the Powerhouse on the west bank of the Flats.

The aquarium is a joint venture of Cleveland's Jacobs Entertainment Inc. and Marinescape NZ Ltd. of New Zealand. The centerpiece of the 70,000-square-foot complex will be the SeaTube, an acrylic-walled passageway that will allow visitors to walk underneath the marine environment."

See the Crain's report here

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Thierry Coup. © 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. All Rights Reserved.
ORLANDO, Florida, USA (January 27, 2011) – Thierry Coup has been named Senior Vice President of the Creative Studio at Universal Creative, the planning and development division of Universal Parks and Resorts. In his new role, Coup leads the creative development activities for upcoming attractions at all of Universal’s theme parks world-wide.

Coup began his career with Universal Creative more than 10 years ago and has played an integral part in shaping the award-winning rides and attractions at Universal’s theme parks ever since. His work in creative theme park development has taken him around the world to Japan, Shanghai, Hollywood, Paris and to Universal Orlando Resort, where he served as Creative Director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the most innovative theme park ride ever — Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Additional attractions to his credit include, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Shrek 4D, The Revenge of the Mummy and King Kong 360 3-D. Currently, Coup is leading the creative team developing the new Transformers attraction for Universal’s theme parks in Hollywood, Calif., and Singapore.

“Thierry has a tremendous reputation of delivering unparalleled attractions and experiences for our guests,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “He is an industry leader and continues to bring strength to our team with his creativity and vision.”

Prior to his work in theme park and attraction development, Coup worked in the film and TV commercial industries, creating visual effects and stop-motion animation for movies ranging from the Oscar-winning “Total Recall,” to “Gremlins” and TV commercials for many of the world’s iconic brands.

About Universal Creative
Universal Creative is the division of Universal Parks & Resorts that conceptualizes, designs and develops attractions, rides and shows, theme parks, hotels and resorts, location-based entertainment venues, restaurants, retail shops and international project development for Universal Studios, Inc. This innovative team of project managers, designers, artists, engineers, financial analysts, architects and builders continues to set new standards in the industry through the fusion of great story telling, stunning technology and flawless delivery of award-winning attractions. Universal Creative’s top-ranked accomplishments include, the new highly acclaimed The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, King Kong 360 3-D, Universal’s parks in Orlando, Hollywood, Japan, and Singapore, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Simpsons Ride, Shrek 4-D, Revenge of the Mummy and The Incredible Hulk.

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New IAAPA Leadership Conference Set for San Diego, March 15-17 Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis to Deliver Keynote Address

San Diego Zoo Elephant Pool. (San Diego Zoo)
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) announces Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis will be the keynote speaker for the first IAAPA Leadership Conference. The IAAPA Board of Directors and more than 100 committee members will join a broad range of attractions professionals for three days of uninterrupted business discussions and networking opportunities. The event will take place at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, Calif., March 15 -17.

The conference is a forum for colleagues from all attraction types throughout the world to exchange ideas, discuss challenges, and talk about issues of the day. In addition, participants will experience first-hand a variety of Southern California attractions, including
Boomer’s! San Diego, Belmont Park, SeaWorld San Diego, USS Midway Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Zoo, Disney California Adventure Park, and Knott’s Berry Farm.

“Similar to the IAAPA summer meeting of years ago, this event will bring together the industry’s best business and creative minds in a relaxed professional environment,” said IAAPA Chairman Bob Rippy. “The conference offers a unique opportunity to talk with peers, hear from industry veteran George Kalogridis, and enjoy site visits to a wide range of San Diego’s world-class attractions.”

Event keynote speaker, George Kalogridis, president of The Disneyland Resort, began his career in 1971 as a busboy at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. Prior to becoming president of The Disneyland Resort, he held numerous executive positions within the company. In addition to his leadership roles at the company’s operations in both Paris and Anaheim, Kalogridis served as vice president of Travel Operations at Walt Disney World. Kalogridis also served as vice president of Walt Disney World's Epcot park where, in addition to overseeing park operations, he led the Millennium Celebration for The Walt Disney Company.

In conjunction with the leadership conference, several of IAAPA’s member committees will hold their annual planning meetings to provide guidance to the IAAPA staff for their 2011 program work. The core constituency committees in attendance will include amusement parks and attractions, family entertainment centers, manufacturers and suppliers, museums and science centers, waterparks, and zoos and aquariums, as well as the executive, strategic planning, communications, education, European advisory, and membership committees.

IAAPA is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded more than 90 years ago, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions worldwide and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,000 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. Member facilities include amusement/theme parks, waterparks, attractions, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and casinos. IAAPA is a nonprofit organization. IAAPA maintains regional offices in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and Latin America, and the association's global headquarters is in the United States.

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Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels to Launch Exclusive Hotel Auction on $450 Million Water Park Portfolio in February

Ten Midwest and Northeast full-service and limited-service water park hotels to be auctioned individually February 15 -17, 2011. Each property features a new water park component, upwards of 50,000 square feet, which is operated under the CoCo Key Water Resort brand, one of the largest indoor water park franchises in the United States. 

Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels and its partner announced the opportunity to acquire a collection of water park hotels either individually or as a portfolio via the firm’s online auction website. The hotel-only auction will be conducted from February 15 to 17, 2011. This is the second Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels exclusive hotel auction, which follows an extremely successful November auction event that cleared more than $300 million of hotels for various financial institutions.

The February auction portfolio consists of 10 full-service and limited-service water park hotels collateralized by assets that are strategically situated throughout key markets in the Midwest and Northeast. The hotels are affiliated with InterContinental Hotel Group, Marriott, Best Western or operated independently of a national franchise. Total replacement cost on this portfolio is estimated to be well north of $450 million. Starting bids range from $500,000 to $5 million per property.

“Given the recent improvement in hotel fundamentals, investor interest in the product type is extraordinarily high. The timing and size of this unique offering matches the current momentum in the market and investor dynamics well,” said Mark Fair, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.

Interested parties may visit or for details or call 1 866 512 7503 for more information.

About is part of the REDC family of companies. Established in 1990, REDC pioneered the model for modern real estate auctions and transformed into the comprehensive real estate services company The company has established industry dominance by selling over $8 billion in real estate assets at auction since 2007. Additional services include asset management, residential loss mitigation and title insurance. Primary clients are residential and commercial mortgage lenders and builders. The company’s success is based on the aggregation of real estate assets that are marketed and sold in large format auctions across the country and online. is headquartered in Irvine, California with offices in Dallas and New York.

About Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels

Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, the first and leading global hotel investment services firm, is uniquely positioned to provide the depth and breadth of advice required by hotel investor and operator clients, through a robust and integrated local network. Services include investment sales, mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, valuation and appraisal, asset management, strategic planning, operator selection, management contract negotiation, consulting, industry research and project development services. Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels' clients have access to the resources of its parent company, Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL).

Popular Exhibition Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear Returns to the California Science Center on February 5, 2011

LOS ANGELES, USA /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear, a popular touring exhibition developed by the California Science Center, explores this universal emotion. Through fun, interactive challenges, guests can experience fear in a safe environment and discover the science behind their physical and emotional responses. The exhibit opens on February 5, 2011, and runs through April 24, 2011; admission is free.

The 6,000 square-foot exhibit includes immersive environments and full-body, interactive experiences that allow guests to test their own fears and rate their physiological responses. Leading scientists and their current research on the neurobiology, physiology and psychology of fear are also featured throughout the exhibit.

"We all experience fear, but many people do not understand why," said Dr. David Bibas, California Science Center Curator of Technology Programs and exhibit organizer for Goose Bumps!  "This is the first comprehensive exhibit on fear that engages visitors with fun experiences that trigger an authentic fear response and then motivates them to learn how the brain and body work together in response to danger. "

Goose Bumps! begins with the Fear Challenge Course, where visitors can face four common fears in a safe environment. The first challenge, Fear of Animals, dares guests to reach into concealed terrariums that might be the home of creepy-crawly creatures. In the next room, Fear of Electric Shock, visitors may feel their heart pounding as they anticipate getting zapped by a jolt of electricity. In Fear of Loud Noises visitors test this innate fear that helps keep us out of harm's way. Finally, the Fear of Falling challenge allows guests to experience a sudden loss of support and then watch a video recording of their reaction to the experience of falling backward.

Another exhibit highlight is the Fear Lab, a section which explores the brain's structures and pathways that drive the fear response. Visitors will meet Mr. Goose Bumps, a larger-than-life figure that illustrates, through animation, how the brain and body work together in response to danger. Real brains and brain slices preserved through the process of plastination are on display showing similarities in a key fear structure in the brains of humans and animals.

Goose Bumps! has been touring Science Centers across the nation since 2007, including stops at COSI in Columbus, Ohio; the Boston Museum of Science; OMSI in Portland, Oregon; and the Arizona Science Center.

Design and Development
This exhibit was developed in cooperation with and partially funded by the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative, which includes the California Science Center, the Boston Museum of Science, COSI, Columbus, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, The Franklin Institute, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

This project was supported, in part, by a grant from the Informal Science Education program of the National Science Foundation under grant ESI-0515470.

About the California Science Center
The California Science Center's mission is as follows: "We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives." The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles

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Tom Kenny, Voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, to Host 38th Annual Annie Awards Feb 5 - Animation's Most Prestigious Night

BURBANK, Calif. USA, /PRNewswire/ -- Tom Kenny, the voice of the wildly successful film and television character 'SpongeBob SquarePants,' is set to host this year's 38th Annual Annie Awards on Saturday, February 5, 2011, at UCLA's Royce Hall. The black-tie evening begins with a pre-reception at 5 p.m. followed by the Annie Awards ceremony at 7 p.m. and post-award party immediately following the ceremony. All events will be held at Royce Hall.

"ASIFA-Hollywood is thrilled to have Tom Kenny serve as the host of this year's Annie Awards," says ASIFA-Hollywood President Antran Manoogian. "Tom's comedic humor and antics should make for a fun and entertaining award ceremony."

In honor of the year's best in animation, Kenny will be joined on stage by a lively mix of animation luminaries, celebrity presenters and comedic talent including animation legend June Foray, James Hong, Danica McKellar, Kevin Michael Richardson, Mike Henry, Nika Futterman, Brian Regan, Corey Burton, Jim Cummings and John DeMaggio This year's Winsor McCay recipients are Brad Bird, Eric Goldberg and Matt Groening. The Winsor McCay Award stands as one of the highest honors given to an individual in the animation industry in recognition for career contributions to the art of animation.

A limited number of VIP tickets are still available. Tickets are $200 for ASIFA-Hollywood members and $250 for non-members. General admission tickets are $25 and can be purchased only through the UCLA box office.  

Often a predictor of the annual Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Annie Awards honor overall excellence as well as individual achievement in a total of 25 categories ranging from best feature, production design, character animation, and effects animation to storyboarding, writing, music and voice acting. Entries submitted for consideration were from productions that originally aired, were exhibited in an animation festival or commercially released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.

Founded in 1972 by ASIFA member and veteran voice talent June Foray, the Annie Awards have grown in scope and stature for the past three decades. Today, ASIFA-Hollywood is the largest of an international network of chapters and supports a range of animation initiatives through its membership. Current projects include an animation archive, library and museum, classes and screenings, and animated film preservation efforts.

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"The 1968 Exhibit" National Traveling Exhibition opens Oct 11 at Minnesota History Center

Robert F. Kennedy sitting in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Washington, DC. Jan. 1964. Courtesy LBJ Library. Photo by Yoichi R. Okamoto.
Twelve months of relentless, culture-shifting, life-changing, memory-stamping events are explored in new national traveling exhibit.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota, USA -- The year 1968 was a turning point for a generation coming of age and a nation at war, and the aftermath can still be felt today. On Oct. 14, 2011 a major traveling exhibit will debut at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, exploring the causes and legacies of the year's barrage of events. 

Developed by the Minnesota History Center, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California, "The 1968 Exhibit" is an ambitious, multimedia exhibit that looks at how the events of the year fueled a persistent, if often contradictory sense of identity for the people who were there and those who came after. 

"Discussions about the impact and legacy of 1968 are being had at dinner tables, in classrooms and on the streets of America" says Tom Brokaw, honorary chair of "The 1968 Exhibit," former anchor and managing editor of the "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw," and author of "Boom! Talking About the Sixties." "It is time to document this watershed year through the voices of the people who experienced it firsthand, and to hear from the next generation about what it means to them."

"The 1968 Exhibit" Includes:
  • A 5,000-square-foot exhibit with dramatic immersive settings and significant artifacts on loan from more than a dozen institutions and individuals; extensive media, interactive and hands-on experiences; and an innovative mobile-device platform.
  • A website,, that will be mobile-optimized and closely integrated with the exhibit, allowing visitors to browse additional content and easily share their experiences with others. Right now, the public is invited to can post their personal stories, observations and photos of the year on the website.
  • A blog, "Covering 1968," written by lead exhibit developer Brian Horrigan, that uses covers of magazines, books and record albums as points of departure for a wide range of 1960s issues, both large and small, political and cultural.
  • A rich menu of public and school programs, including interactive videoconferencing classes that will reach students nationwide, a classroom speakers' bureau, and an online curriculum in the form of a graphic novel used to engage students with primary source materials and oral histories.

Tour Dates:

"The 1968 Exhibit" will travel to all partner institutions as well as other key national destinations.

  • Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Oct. 14, 2011 – Feb. 20, 2012

  • Oakland Museum of California
March 31, 2012 – Aug. 19, 2012

  • Atlanta History Center
Oct. 6, 2012 – Feb. 24, 2013

  • National Constitution Center, Philadelphia
March 23, 2013 – Sept. 2, 2013

  • Chicago History Museum

"The 1968 Exhibit" is supported by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). "The 1968 Exhibit" has been designated a "We the People" project and received a Chairman's Special Award for final design and production by the NEH.

Exhibit Partnerships
Each partner institution has brought to the exhibit artifacts, stories and other resources informed by their unique perspective on the year's events. The Chicago History Museum has gathered materials related to the Democratic National Convention, while the Atlanta History Center provides resources related to Martin Luther King, Jr., Lester Maddox and the 1968 Olympic Games. The Oakland Museum of California's collections are especially strong in the areas of the counterculture and protest movements. The Minnesota History Center documents the careers of Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy, as well as the American Indian Movement (AIM), founded in Minneapolis in 1968. 

The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a modern library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. Its essence is to illuminate the past as a way to shed light on the future. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota's past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

St Louis Arch grounds redesign update

Rendering of design for East Bank Park Pavilion. Image: ArchRiver2015
“Report to the Community”

On Jan 26, 2011 at America's Center in downtown St Louis, lead designer Michael Van Valkenburgh and museum planner and architect Scott Newman presented the Design Concept  at a public event hosted by radio personality Julie Buck. The evening also featured Tom Bradley, superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Walter Metcalfe of the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation and video remarks by sportscaster Joe Buck. Below are renderings of the project areas. An introduction to the project, the design concept presentation and October 28, 2015 project statistics can be found here.

The $578 million plan calls for closing Memorial Drive. The target opening date is 2015; a public-private funding partnership is envisioned. St Louis Mayor Slay supports the project. 

See the report from the St Louis Post-Dispatch

MVVA Team Fly-Through Video from the design competition:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CNL Lifestyle Properties Announces New Management for Eight Properties

Photo: Darien Lake
--New management companies to be in place by February 1--

After an extensive search, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. has reached agreements regarding new management for eight of its amusement park properties beginning on or before February 1, 2011. Five managers were chosen based on their track records of providing safe, high-quality guest experiences.

“We are excited to transition to these industry-leading management teams as we finalize preparations for the new season,” said Byron Carlock, president and CEO of CNL Lifestyle Properties. “These new managers are committed to creating positive, memorable experiences for our guests and fostering strong relationships with the communities our parks serve.”

· Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. (HFE) has been chosen to manage Elitch Gardens (Denver, Colo.) and Darien Lake (Buffalo, N.Y.). HFE owns, operates or partners in 24 properties including Dollywood, which was chosen as the winner of the “Applause Award” in 2010 by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).

· Premier Attractions Management, LLC has been selected to manage Frontier City (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Splashtown (Houston, Texas) and White Water Bay (Oklahoma City, Okla.). Premier is led by Kieran Burke, the former chairman and CEO of Six Flags Entertainment Corp., and Gary Story, former president and chief operating officer of Six Flags. The two executives currently own and operate Nashville Shores water park, marina and RV resort in Tennessee and Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach, Va.

· Amusement Management Partners, LLC (AMP) has been named manager of Magic Springs and Crystal Falls (Hot Springs, Ark.). AMP already manages eight CNL Lifestyle Properties family entertainment centers. The company is led by Bob Masterson, former chairman of Ripley’s Entertainment and the past chairman of IAAPA.

· Palace Entertainment has been chosen to manage Waterworld (Concord, Calif.). Palace Entertainment is the nation’s largest owner/operator of water parks, with 11 water parks across the country. It also owns/operates 21 family entertainment centers and eight theme parks. In 2010, Amusement Park magazine named its Idlewild park the “Best Children’s Amusement Park in the World.”

· NorPoint Entertainment has been selected to manage Wild Waves (Seattle, Wash.). The principal of NorPoint, Jeff Stock, is the founder of Wild Waves and operated it from 1990 to 2000. His deep roots in the Pacific Northwest and knowledge of the market are expected to solidify the park’s position as a quality family entertainment destination in the community.

“CNL Lifestyle Properties is excited about the new relationships built through this transition and anticipates maintaining the same high levels of customer service and community involvement following the management change,” said Curt Caffey, senior vice president and managing director of CNL Lifestyle Co. Employment levels and operating strategies for the 2011 season are expected to be largely unaffected by the transition.

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Capital campaign to open National Law Enforcement Museum in 2013

The Fraternal Order of Police, Baltimore City Lodge #3 is the newest major donor to the National Law Enforcement Museum.  FOP Lodge President Robert Cherry and Vice President Gene Ryan made the commitment at the Museum’s Groundbreaking Gala on October 14, 2010 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
The Baltimore City FOP Lodge’s pledge marks the forty-seventh law enforcement organization to donate $100,000 or more to the Museum, the tenth FOP Lodge to donate $100,000 or more to the Museum and the 80th Lodge to donate to the campaign.  80 Fraternal Order of Police Lodges nationwide have collectively donated over $1,248,000 to the campaign.

Authorized by Congress, the planned National Law Enforcement Museum will be a 55,000-square-foot, mostly underground museum located across the street from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC’s Judiciary Square. The Memorial contains the names of 18,983 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history.

The Museum will serve as a natural complement to the Memorial, helping citizens better understand and appreciate the vital role that law enforcement officers play in keeping communities safe from crime and terror. It will tell the story of law enforcement in America through high-tech, interactive exhibits, including a use-of-force judgment simulator, historical and contemporary artifacts, oral histories and extensive research and educational programming for young people and adults.

The privately funded Museum has launched an $80 million capital campaign, with over $41 million raised to date, with strong support from the law enforcement community. 

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Photo: Cedar Fair
SANDUSKY, OHIO, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced on Jan 24, 2011 the appointment of C. Thomas (“Tom”) Harvie as non-executive, independent chairman of the Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Harvie succeeds Dick Kinzel as the Company’s chairman.  Kinzel voluntarily relinquished his chairman position in response to unitholders’ support of the proposal regarding the separation of the chairman and chief executive roles.  Kinzel will remain as president and chief executive officer of Cedar Fair through the end of his contract on January 3, 2012.  The proposal passed with approximately 54 percent of the vote at the Special Meeting of Unitholders, held on January 11, 2011, to consider two amendments to the partnership agreement as proposed by Q Funding III, L.P. and Q4 Funding, L.P. (“Q Investments”). Given the complexity of voting tabulation caused by the two distinct sets of proxy materials used in such special meetings, the results required a verification and reconciliation process by an independent inspector of elections.

Harvie, who has served as an independent director of Cedar Fair since 2008, chairs the corporate governance committee and the CEO succession planning committee.  Most recently, Harvie served as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. 

Harvie’s appointment is in line with the Board’s newly adopted policy, which requires the separation of the chairman and chief executive officer roles and states that the chairman of the Board will be independent of the Company.

Harvie commented, “We believe today’s actions will help ensure a smooth and seamless leadership transition for Cedar Fair as it enters a new era of growth and sustained value creation for its unitholders.  The Board recognizes the valuable leadership that Dick Kinzel has provided the Company during his years of service as Chairman and CEO, and appreciates his continued commitment to the Company.  I look forward to serving in this strategic leadership and governance role as we complete the CEO succession planning transition process and continue to build on the Company’s strong 2010 performance.”  The appointment of the non-executive, independent chairman will be reviewed by the Board on a periodic basis.

As announced on December 6, 2010, the Board has retained Korn/Ferry International, one of the world’s leading executive recruiting firms, to assist in its ongoing CEO succession planning process, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of this year.
The Company also announced that Proposal #2, which called for the amendment to the partnership agreement to require the payment of cash distributions to unitholders as a higher priority than reducing leverage and strengthening the Company’s balance sheet for the future, failed to receive the requisite number of votes required for approval by unitholders.  Three of the four leading proxy advisory firms recommended that unitholders vote against the proposal.

“The Board recognizes that unitholders have a vested and continuing interest in the payment of a sustainable and growing distribution,” said Kinzel.  “The Company is – and always has been –  deeply committed to the payment of a distribution to our unitholders.   Consistent with that commitment, the Board has agreed to review the distribution strategy during the 2011 first quarter in combination with our 2010 full-year results.  As part of that process, we will consider all options available under our current capital structure with respect to the payment of future distributions.  As evidenced by the past 24 years the payment of a distribution is among the Board’s highest priorities.”

The Company today filed an 8K with the Securities and Exchange Commission which sets forth the detail of the final voting results, as certified by the independent inspector of elections.  The filing can be accessed via the  SEC website at

About Cedar Fair
Cedar Fair is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio, and one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world.  The Company owns and operates 11 amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels.  Amusement parks in the Company’s northern region include two in Ohio: Cedar Point, consistently voted “Best Amusement Park in the World” in Amusement Today polls, and Kings Island; as well as Canada’s Wonderland, near Toronto; Dorney Park, PA; Valleyfair, MN; and Michigan’s Adventure, MI. In the southern region are Kings Dominion, VA; Carowinds, NC; and Worlds of Fun, MO. Western parks in California include: Knott’s Berry Farm; California’s Great America; and Gilroy Gardens, which is managed under contract.

Related stories from InPark Magazine for the theme park industry:

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Monday, January 24, 2011


Since 2002, Delta has conducted its trademark VLP research study for theme parks. This research has always been innovative and actionable, and is now crucial as theme parks enter the make-or-break year of 2011.

Market share among individual theme parks has been decreasing steadily over the past several years, as new venues crop up and carve out their own portion of share – creating a “watering-down” effect. This trend shows definite signs of exploding in 2011. VLP research is absolutely crucial for all theme parks in order to not only maintain their share, but to define and set themselves apart from others in this incredibly competitive environment – whether a direct competitor, competitive entertainment venues, or the economy itself.

In VLP research, the guest segments are defined as follows:

• Visitor: an individual who has visited your park within the past year (and possibly previous years)
• Lapsed: an individual who has not visited your park within the past year, but has visited in year(s) prior
• Potential: an individual who has not visited your park within the past several years, but fits the target demographic for your park (eg Teen/Young Adult, Parent of child under the age of 18, etc.)

Once these guest segments are defined, Visitor, Lapsed, Potential research is essential in allowing theme parks to reliably:

• Measure/gauge perceived park position among general population, and how/if such perception impedes correct positioning against competitive parks
• Measurement of competitive strengths and weaknesses; assisting you in making the right decisions especially in terms of public relations
• Determine barriers and opportunities among potential guests
• Measure satisfaction among current visitors; what “drives” guests to visit the park, and how these “drivers” can be applied to Potential and Lapsed visitors to increase future visitation
• Measure impact of new capital (existing, as well as that in the planning stage)
• Determine reasons for attrition (lapsed visitation) among key targets, such as Parents, Teens, and specific visitor segments by demographic

Delta Market Research has conducted over 12 separate VLP studies for various theme parks over the past decade, to the tremendous benefit of those parks participating.

February is almost here, and it is critical for VLP research to be conducted now, in the off-season, in order for parks to be ready for the onslaught of fierce competition in 2011, from direct competitors, competitive entertainment venues, and the economy itself. As the leaders in theme park research, Delta’s mission is to make sure you’re ready. The time is now.

First Annual IFP/Power to the Pixel Cross-Media Forum Launches in New York, 2011

NEW YORK CITY /PRNewswire/ -- IFP announced the launch of their new partnership with Power to the Pixel, the pioneering UK-based cross-media organization. The alliance will kick-off with the launch of the first joint annual IFP/Power to the Pixel Cross-Media Forum in New York City on April 19th, 2011.

The IFP/Power to the Pixel Cross-Media Forum will consist of a conference, cross-media project presentations, as well as numerous networking opportunities allowing content creators and funders to directly connect. 

The Conference will focus on introducing U.S. audiences to leading thinkers, practitioners and innovators who develop new business and creative opportunities for film, media and new technologies. The full schedule will be announced in March 2011, with tickets made available March 19th.

About IFP
Founded as a satellite program of the 1979 New York Film Festival, the non-profit IFP has evolved into the nation's oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, and also the premier advocate for them.  

About Power to the Pixel
Power to the Pixel supports the film and media industries in their transition to a digital age. The company's London team, headed by Liz Rosenthal & Tishna Molla, has a wealth of experience and expertise across film and cross-media, and is linked to a unique network of the leading thinkers, practitioners and innovators who are developing new business and creative opportunities around the world. 

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