Creating Successful Exhibits

Hosted by Crowne Plaza Clayton
St. Louis, MO
November 2022

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
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening reception
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Class meets all day at the Zoo

Last Day
- Class meets all day at the Zoo
- Students transported back to hotel

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


Chris Andrews, Head, Merlin Animal Welfare and Development - SEA LIFE US
Shasta Bray, Manager of Interpretive Exhibits, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Mary Brong, Exhibit Design Coordinator - St. Louis Zoo
Scott Perich
, Director of Long Range Planning - National Aquarium
Doug Piekarz
,  President & CEO - Akron Zoological Park
Emily Routman, Owner & Principal, Emily Routman Associates

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. The hotel provides free airport shuttle service and is also accessible via MetroLink.


Course participants stay at Crowne Plaza Clayton in St. Louis, Missouri and classes meet on-site.

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.

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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