Published September 28, 2018

The Making of an Exhibit: Cardboard Engineering

Everything is ready to go by the time visitors walk into our brand-new Cardboard Engineering experience. But have you ever considered how much work goes on behind-the-scenes before each and every experience opens? Maybe not. Here, get a quick glimpse into how one of our newest experiences came together at the Indiana State Museum.

Planning and painting

After coming up with the idea, months of planning began even before the last experience completed its run at the museum! These concept plans show the initial ideas for the 3,000-square-foot play space. Some of the ideas changed over time, but a majority of the plans remained the same.

Collecting the cardboard

Believe it or not, museum staff didn’t just collect the left-over cardboard boxes from packages received at the museum. We did recycle cardboard from items received here, but we also asked staff and volunteers to save their cardboard. Plus, we collected cardboard from our state agency friends, too. It’s definitely a group effort that isn’t over yet.

Gathering other supplies

Can you imagine walking into a store to purchase more than a ton of tape? We could have created a tape shortage! More than 2,300 pounds of tape (in several different colors) were delivered to our dock in August thanks to ShurTech Brands and Meijer. We also have plenty of scissors, crayons and other tools for you to make your cardboard creations.

Creating down to the letter

Those instruction boards seen on the walls in this giant playspace, weren’t created elsewhere – they were created right here at the museum! We used items you can find in our Cardboard Engineering space to give you a few ideas about where to get started in building your own masterpiece. Want to try a new technique? Be sure to check out our “Put It Together” or “Decorate It” boards.

Installing the title wall and hanging signs

Even with our huge stack of cardboard, scissors and tape, something was missing. We installed our title wall and other signs in the gallery to get ready for opening day.

Today’s the day!

Opening day is Sept. 29, and we couldn’t be more excited! Come show off and share your creativity and problem-solving skills to create the largest or smallest piece in the play space, or add to something another visitor has left behind – it’s totally up to you and whatever you can think up.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll create!