Chicago Museum Celebrates Famed Art Deco Train With 170 Foot Projection Wall

June 2, 2021 by Dave Haynes

This is an interesting take on the idea of using video walls to create the sense of motion outside a museum object – in this case a train.

Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) celebrates the famed Zephyr rail line in the U.S. – a super-streamlined engine and cars clad in stainless steel – with an exhibit that holds the 60 meter long diesel passenger train and tells its story.

The train hall is lined with a 170 foot long projected media piece, using an AV Stumpfl PIXERA mini Quad server and three Fullwhite screens.

The newly renovated Pioneer Zephyr exhibition, which has been part of MSI’s collection since 1960, relates how the train reinvented travel and design in the U.S.

Sporting a streamlined stainless-steel body and a cutting-edge diesel-electric engine, the Zephyr revolutionised the look of rail travel, while reducing fuel and maintenance costs. Although the public were shocked at first, they eventually fell in love with all things ‘streamlined’ and the Zephyr’s sleek form was soon mirrored in everyday items from transportation to toasters.

“The Pioneer Zephyr is a beloved piece of transportation and Museum history that has wowed guests for generations,” says John Llewellyn, creative lead at MSI. “We are thrilled to reopen this Museum icon for guests to experience up close its beautiful design and incredible story which sets the stage for what to expect as they explore the rest of MSI.” 

The projected media piece runs alongside the train, making it feel like those exploring the train are in motion. The projections also show the West Wind Vista’ which not only provides a sense of motion, but highlights the Pioneer Zephyr’s influence on the evolution of transportation, aerodynamics, and streamlining in industrial design.

Creative Technology Group was tasked with taking care of the installation, overseen by project lead Michael Fuller. 

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