Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium opens $40 mil expansion and "Lifeless Gulf" exhibit


DUBUQUE — The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium opened its $40 million expansion, the Diamond Jo National River Center on June 26, 2010. The expansion includes a new Gulf of Mexico exhibit. However, the Gulf exhibit did not open as a celebration of a vibrant, life-filled Gulf; instead it shows a Gulf empty and completely devoid of life.

A dramatic depiction of the effects of the oil spill is presented in the aquarium gallery next to the lifeless aquariums. Educational materials, hands-on activities, multi-media exhibits and information about how to get involved are also presented. The board and staff decided that opening a Gulf of Mexico exhibit at this time requires a compassionate and factual representation of the Gulf crisis.

The intent of the Gulf of Mexico exhibit is to draw a connection between the Mississippi River and the ocean and to bring to light the devastating effects of the oil spill. The exhibit, without fish, has the opportunity to make a bold statement related to the oil spill in the Gulf Coast by asking Museum & Aquarium visitors to imagine a lifeless Gulf. Read more here.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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