Charlene Eldon

Design

Exploratorium "Self, Made" Exhibit

I assisted one of the senior designers and a number of other curators at the Exploratorium with the launch of their summer ‘19 show, “Self, Made.”

This exhibit was of special objects that immigrant students from the ESL class at SF City College had brought with them from their country, with translations of why they were special in their native language and English. We needed to make the exhibit ADA friendly but didn’t have room for large type in the display case, so we created a book of large type instead. I illustrated each of the objects so the book would accompany the physical objects. These types of illustrations of museum objects are weirdly one of my favorite things in museums. The ultimate pay-off for finishing this book was seeing the ESL students interact with it when they came to the exhibit launch.

The ESL students whose objects were on display.

The ESL students whose objects were on display.

One of the museum curators, Allison Roach, helping me stage the objects for illustrating. She said something about not wanting me to share this photo, if I recall correctly…

One of the museum curators, Allison Roach, helping me stage the objects for illustrating. She said something about not wanting me to share this photo, if I recall correctly…

Oh no, it was this photo!

Oh no, it was this photo!

The students flipping through the books at the exhibit.

The students flipping through the books at the exhibit.


I photoshopped the people/ backgrounds out of these photos of kids posing in their finished garments from a fashion design class.

I photoshopped the people/ backgrounds out of these photos of kids posing in their finished garments from a fashion design class.

The exhibit at work, where people (here the director of exhibits and media studio, Tom Rockwell) can see themselves dressed in the different outfits!

My adorable parents playing with the exhibit.

My adorable parents playing with the exhibit.

All of the outfits, as they’re displayed on the exhibit’s screen


The final version

The final version

This was the design brief handed to me by the curator.

This was the design brief handed to me by the curator.

My first pass at the illustration, later finessed by one of the science writers.

My first pass at the illustration, later finessed by one of the science writers.

A thank-you mention in the curator’s email, which I thought was very sweet considering I’d only done one tiny illustration!

A thank-you mention in the curator’s email, which I thought was very sweet considering I’d only done one tiny illustration!

Charley Eldon