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 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 Topics & Instructors

  • 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 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.

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

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.

Course Registration & Travel

Travel & Accommodations

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.

Tuition & Expenses*

Please note, these rates are higher than other course offerings because they include course registration, as well as breakfasts, lunches, break service, and two dinners during the course.  The hotel rate in St. Louis will be ~$110 plus taxes per room per night, with no surcharge for double occupancy. The overall resulting cost to participants will be similar compared to other less-inclusive courses. 
Scholarship funding is available through a competitive process. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

AZA Accredited / Certified Institutions*
Early Bird Rate:
 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1125 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1325 without Qualifying Individual Membership

Regular Rateweeks prior to course start date
$1325 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1525 without Qualifying Individual Membership

Individual Membership must be Professional Affiliate or Professional Fellow to qualify. 

Individuals Not Employed at an AZA-accredited or Certified Insitution
Early Bird Rate:
 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1325 with Professional Associate Membership

Regular Rate: 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1525 with Professional Associate Membership

Individual Membership Requirement
Staff from non-AZA accredited institutions must have an individual AZA membership to apply and register for an AZA course. 

*Prices are subject to change

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

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