Sperry Design undertook a new installation of exhibits at the Cheticamp Visitor Centre in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This was a turnkey, design-build project. The new VIC has a balance of informative and interpretive panels along with interactive touchscreens, visual monitors and hands-on components. The interpretive objectives and approach of this project were to provide information to visitors, orient visitors upon arrival in Cape Breton Highlands National Park as they plan their visit, promote key experiences in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and share the story of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The project began as an interpretive masterplan. We worked in collaboration with Parks Canada to develop a visitor experience that would welcome, orient, and inform visitors about the park, its story and key features. The concept had to be engaging and entertaining while encouraging visitors to get out and explore and experience the park for themselves.
The exhibit welcomes visitors to CBHNP and instantly creates a sense of place and an instant emotional connection with the visitor. This exhibit is family-friendly and fun. Again, it is a balance of informative interpretive panels along with interactive touch screens, visual monitors, and low-tech, hands-on learning components. A key feature wall includes graphic treatment of life-sized animals found in the park. Visitors can touch and feel the various furs of each animal as they stand toe-to-toe with them to see how they measure up. Several monitors run detailed slideshows on habitats, wildlife and hiking trails. While others feature key programming and schedules. The exhibit engages visitors and allows them to explore and plan their adventures in CBHNP. In designing static, interactive and digital acomponents, simplicity was the key and was achieved through the refinement of the interpretive objective to its purest form. Our goal was to develop stimulating and informative interpretive exhibits that stand up to both the natural elements and the rigours of use. At the same time, we were designing for audiences of all ages.