Creating Successful Exhibits

Hosted by Crowne Plaza Clayton
St. Louis, MO
2023 Date TBD

Creating Successful Exhibits provides an integrated overview of a team-based exhibit development process. The course follows the phases of an exhibit project from the formation of the team, through concept planning, design and construction, to operation, in chronological order of the tasks. Full attention is given to techniques that improve an exhibit's impact on visitors. This program is a classroom-based workshop and does not include hands-on training in fabrication.

Course Objectives

Course participants will work in small groups on a week-long project that incorporates all of these topics. At the end of the week, each group will make a formal presentation to the class.

  • Function of Exhibits

  • Developing Exhibits

  • Concept Development Phase

    • Feasibility Studies

    • Understanding the Institutional Review Process

  • Design Development Phase

    • Refining the Program

    • Utilizing External Consultants

    • Schematic Phase

    • Tools of Design

    • Developing Budgets and Timelines

    • Interpretive Techniques and Technology

    • Audience/Marketing Research/Evaluation

    • Fabrication, Horticulture, Green Design

    • Communication

  • Construction Phase

    • Practical Considerations

    • Communications

  • Post Opening & Review Phase

Course Schedule

First Day
 - Arrival on Monday
 - Course activities, including student registration, begin after 4 PM
 - Opening evening reception
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Class meets all day 

Last Day
- Class meets all day 
- Closing reception

Attendance for course participants is required for the duration of the course until late afternoon on the last day (typically by 4:00 PM but schedules are subject to change - students will receive scheduled times once admitted to the course).


Mary Brong, Director of Exhibits and Interpretives - St. Louis Zoo
Heather Doggett
, Chief Operations Officer - Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
Jason Hill
, Principal - SH | R Studios
Margaret Innes
, Director of Animal Operations - Maryland Zoo
Scott Perich
, Director of Long Range Planning and Strategic Design - National Aquarium
Terry O'Connor, Partner - Pathways Collaborative

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is designed for zoo/aquarium staff involved in exhibit development, animal care, conservation education, design and graphics, research, facilities, marketing and operations.

None. Priority will be given to AZA members. International applicants and those not affiliated with an AZA accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis;  please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this course.

Travel & Accommodations

Air Travel
Lambert Saint Louis International Airport (STL) is the closest airport.

Classes meet on site at Crowne Plaza Clayton in St. Louis, Missouri and course participants are encouraged to stay on site. The hotel rate is $117 per night, and reservations can be made online until October 9th. For more information, please email

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

Course Registration

Registration for this course is not open at this time.

For information regarding our code of conduct, registration, and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

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