Our Dynamic Gulf of Maine Exhibit

Rye, NH

Exhibition Architecture and Design

The Seacoast Science Center, a non-profit marine science and education organization in Rye, New Hampshire, engages guests with its uniquely beautiful coastal environment to impart a better understanding of the delicate relationships between humans, local water habitats and the world. Facing the real challenge of climate change, visitors are encouraged to think critically and act pragmatically in ways that will improve the long-term health of our planet’s oceans. As supporters of this organization, it was our pleasure to re-imagine their important, yet underutilized aquarium exhibit. 

Working collaboratively with their marine science Programming, Communication, and Aquarist experts, we designed the extraordinary exhibition, “Our Dynamic Gulf of Maine: A Place of Urgency and Hope” that thoughtfully balances the immediacy of climate change with the joy of this magical coastline.

According to Jim Chase, CEO, Seacoast Science Center, “Working with WINTER HOLBEN brought a level of excellence and creativity to our project that went far beyond our expectations. Delightful to work with, their commitment to our conservation mission and to lifting our community is admirable.” 

Through careful planning and a focused design process, guests are now more intentionally led through the exhibit. Beyond a dramatic new entryway, visitors encounter a compelling expanse of complimentary colors. Deep blue walls and glowing tanks emulate the cold, underwater marine environment while vibrant oranges represent the growing presence and urgency of warming temperatures. Waves flow through the exhibit as shapes on the walls and forms in the furniture—currents connecting all of these elements in a cohesive way. The tanks, the true focal point of the exhibit, are now staged as a unified system of whimsical walls and three-sided encasements that educate and delight both children and adults.

Our multidisciplinary architecture and design firm, founded by science-minded creatives, was uniquely qualified for this highly complex project. Well-equipped to manage a wide range of critical considerations from structural limitations and climate controls to information graphics and experiential design, we applied our array of expertise to produce innovative and cost-effective solutions in a limited time frame. Our holistic approach incorporating architecture, graphic design and interior design solutions, streamlined the process resulting in greater awareness, growing attendance, and increased support for this landmark organization.

“Our Dynamic Gulf of Maine: A Place of Urgency and Hope” is the recipient of a 2022 New England Museum Association Excellence Award.

Photos by Douglas Schmidt and Greg West Photography

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The main entrance view of the Seacoast Science Center's new Gulf of Maine exhibit

Main View: An underwater wonderland

Our Dynamic Gulf of Maine A Place of Urgency and Hope

Our Dynamic Gulf of Maine: A Place of Urgency & Hope

seacoast science center lobster gulf of maine wall

The Lobster Trap learning station, Shifting Currents, Coastal Invaders, and Jellyfish Adrift in the Deep are complimented by educational video installations

seacoast science center jelly hope and urgency

Hope & Urgency

The Redesigned Entryway of the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire

Redesigned Entryway

seacoast science center kids nook wall

Cashes Ledge crown jewels, the fun Kids Nook, and species On the Move