The Blue Hills Trailside Museum is located in Milton, Massachusetts, acting as the gateway between the neighborhood and outside communities to the Blue Hills trails. The museum currently houses natural history exhibits, exhibits of the numerous ecologies and animals that can be found while hiking the Blue Hills trails, as well as outdoor sanctuary of native wildlife. The museum also hosts numerous programs and special events for all ages including school trips and summer camps to discover nature through hands on exploration, creative play and active learning.
The team identified four locations of the museum in its current condition that could be modified to improve visitor interaction and engagement.
The goal of this new public zone is to draw hikers and other visitors into the museum who previously were not engaged. The proposed new entry sequence will begin by consolidating the current entry points into a single accessible building entrance and introducing a new café.
The renovation of the auditorium is focused on creating a stronger connection to the exterior while maintaining flexibility within the space. This renovation includes improving views out to the Blue Hills through creating new windows on the north and south faces of the building as well as improving the connection to the back deck. The team developed mobile displays and partitions for the museum. These are designed as a series for flat displays, shelving for bio-facts and tactile displays, as well as activity carts with storage.
The exhibit hall space is rich with information but lacks accessibility for all museum visitors. The proposed design includes a large, sloped walkway with exhibits incorporated along the path. The design replicates a hike through the Blue Hills with new flooring utilizing different colors and patterns to represent the various habitats as visitors progress along the trail. In addition to flooring to assist with wayfinding, a uniformed signage approach will be implemented to create cohesive branding for the interior exhibits with the exterior exhibits and trail, and ultimately creating a stronger relationship between the exhibits and the surrounding Blue Hills.
The exterior improvements are focused on increasing the museum’s visibility. Improvements include a new strategy for signage and wayfinding, creating interactive exhibitions, a new exhibit zone, a new pathway sequence through the wildflower garden area and expanding the wildflower garden along the pedestrian walkway from the north lot.
Blue Hills Trailside Museum: