Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Perfecting Petroleum

PHOTOS courtesy JRA.

Permian Basin Petroleum Museum calls on JRA to tell its educational story in entertaining, modern formats

by InPark editorial staff

[quote]Taking a page from our theme park work, we employed techniques such as a game-show based introductory film, dramatic immersive environments, and adapted video game-like technology to convey some challenging content in a fun way.”[/quote]

[dropcap color=”#888″ type=”square”]I[/dropcap]n Midland Texas, USA, the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library and Hall of Fame re-opened April 2 having just completed an $18 million renovation. JRA (Jack Rouse Associates) provided overall planning, design development and project management for the Petroleum Museum’s 15,000 square feet of exhibit space.

The Permian Basin is a large oil and natural gas producing area.  Originally founded in 1975, the re-invented Petroleum Museum tells the story of how petroleum transformed the Permian Basin and explains the processes of finding, extracting, producing and transporting this energy source. Part of its mission is to inspire young visitors to pursue careers in the petroleum and energy sciences.

Through its use of interactives, immersive environments and game-based learning experiences, the Petroleum Museum takes guests on a journey through some 250 million years of Permian Basin history, highlighting the people who explored and harnessed its fuel reserves with determination and inventiveness.

“Both we and the client had a strong desire to make the experience entertaining,” said Rob Morgan, JRA Senior Project Director. “Taking a page from our theme park work, we employed techniques such as a game-show based introductory film, dramatic immersive environments, and adapted video game-like technology to convey some challenging content in a fun way. We engage the visitors in many ways, catering to various learning styles. The content can be updated periodically so the messaging can stay as relevant as possible, and encourage repeat visitation.”

JRA plans, designs and realizes visitor experiences for entertainment, cultural, sport and corporate clients around the world. Recent projects include Science Centre Singapore, Space Center Houston, The Mind Museum (Philippines), Imaginosity (Ireland), Lao Niu Children’s Discovery Museum (China) and Enginuity (England). The company has been celebrated with numerous awards, including a 2016 lifetime achievement recognition from the Themed Entertainment Association to JRA CEO Keith James.

At the Petroleum Museum, the visitor experience begins with a journey through time, from hundreds of millions of years ago to the present day. Visitors then enter the “Extreme Science” area, where they learn about the techniques and innovations involved in oil exploration and production.

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Highlights of the renovation include:

*Mythcrackers: An introductory film welcomes visitors by examining and dispelling common petroleum myths via a Family Feud-style game show, because “it’s what you think you know that just ain’t so.”

*Permian Reef: Upon exiting the theater, guests are fully immersed into a dramatic recreation of a 250-millionyear-old Permian reef, featuring the Museum’s original 1975 reef diorama, faithfully restored.

*Birth of an Industry: Midland comes to life via a re-creation of a 1930s Boom Town, complete with a general store, land office and an array of early Midland artifacts.

*The Voyage of the PetroTrekker – As the tactical engineers of a petroleum exploration vessel, guests journey across land, through space and under the sea to find new sources of petroleum. This immersive theater features interactive touch screens, dramatic lighting and special effects to place visitors in the heart of the action.

*Risk and Reward – In this game-based exhibit, visitors run into various obstacles as they drill for oil and must determine whether to forge ahead or walk away.

*Supplemental Energies – This area explains the supplemental energies, from solar to hydro to nuclear, that are being used to power our cars, homes and cities.

*Chevron Energy City – This brightly colored zone, geared to children ages 6-9, teaches about various forms of energy and the steps they can take to conserve energy in their everyday lives.

*Find Your Way Café – Having learned about the heritage of the past and the innovations of the present, visitors now learn how they can contribute to the future of the petroleum industry, matching their skills and interests with potential careers in the field via an interactive quiz.

This is a project that has been several years in the making and it has certainly exceeded all our expectations,” said Kathy Shannon, Executive Director. “The amount of information, dispersed in so many creative ways, will fascinate visitors of all ages. The Museum has become a showcase for innovative and creative thinking and definitely a strong science-based museum for our community and beyond.”

Learn more about the media production JRA oversaw for the Petroleum Museum in “A Well-Oiled Process: Media producer Don MacBain tapped by JRA for museum project,” InPark issue #60.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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