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Noah's Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center
Photo: Steve Cohn

Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center

Los Angeles, California

Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center

Los Angeles, California

  • Design Principal

    Jim Olson

  • Design Principal

    Alan Maskin

Comprised of 8,000 square feet of hands-on interior galleries, an adjacent amphitheater, and other outdoor education areas, Noah’s Ark at the Skirball provides a welcoming environment for children and families. The design helps visitors celebrate their own unique identities, explore communal values and gain a positive perspective on cultural differences. The Skirball Cultural Center, which opened to the public in 1996, is dedicated to exploring the connections between four thousand years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals.

Challenging preconceptions about children’s museums, the team developed an exhibit design that favored clarity over chaos, utilized a wide spectrum of colors and natural materials, and employed a hierarchy of vertical scales. The design abandoned written text in favor of a completely interactive exhibit that incorporates the leadership of docents of all ages.

The design team collaborated with fabricators to design and create 186 pairs of handcrafted animals. Many animals are designed from re-purposed and found objects such as bottle caps, bicycle parts, baseball mitts, croquet balls, mop heads and rear-view mirrors. Approximately 15 pairs of animals are kinetic—puppets brought to life by visitors and staff.

Team