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Art of East Asia, San Diego Museum of Art

These renovated galleries present the museum’s significant East Asian collection as a journey through time and place. Starting with Chinese tomb art, then Buddhist icons, it continues with the art of Korea, Daoist visions from China, and decorative and sacred art from Japan. The design challenge was to create unique spaces for each area within a unified whole. Individual galleries have colors and touches of architectural detailing specific to their time and place. While throughout, sophisticated graphics in English and Spanish supplemented with headlines in Chinese, Japanese, and/or Korean offer consistency, as do the ebony-lacquered casework and platforms.

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Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

For nearly two decades Staples & Charles has been working with the curators, archaeologists, and historians at Monticello to enrich the public’s understanding of Jefferson, his contributions to the nation, his home, and the Monticello plantation community. S&C's initial study outlined parameters for the future Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and main messages to be conveyed. The results are a dynamic combination of engaging new technologies, in-depth historical content, and fascinating artifacts. S&C led the design effort and coordinated the creative contributions of media designers, model makers, and fabricators. The design work has continued with interpretive elements in the lower level of the house and along Mulberry Row.

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Louis Kahn Building, Yale Center for British Art

When YUAG opened in 1953, the spacious and functional interior, designed to provide a maximum of space, light, and flexibility, were highly praised. Yet, within a few years, these very qualities were compromised by insensitive installations. Over 50 years later, the architectural fabric of Louis Kahn’s first museum was restored and a universal approach for the permanent collection, sympathetic to the building, was developed. Staples & Charles designed this family of exhibition furniture—new “pogo” panels, casework, platforms, scrims—as well as the initial reinstallations throughout the Kahn Building. The New York Times noted that "Every museum director and curator embarking on a new building project should be required to tour these rooms."

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Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

Edward Rothstein of the New York Times wrote: "If Franklin were to mount a museum exhibition about himself, it might very well resemble—in its variety, intelligence and pleasures—“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World.” The genius of this traveling exhibition was the total integration of objects, ideas, content, and presentation. Franklin’s story and experiences were conveyed through a careful balance of his own writings, contemporary statements, great documents, objects he owned, and interactive media. For Staples & Charles, designing "In Search of a Better World" was an intellectual three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, with continual questions of how best to convey Franklin, in all of his diversity, and to engage the visitor.

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Imperial Austria

"Imperial Austria" was a traveling exhibition of over 250 works of art, arms, and armor from the Landeszeughaus in Graz, Austria. Staples & Charles was part of the team that identified the themes and selected the artworks. S&C then developed the overall design vocabulary, creating a kit of parts that could be adapted to different museum spaces in the US, Canada, and Australia. The major challenge was to give life to the armor, positioning masses of troops in ways never before seen in a museum—in ranks of battle, holding pikes, swords and pistols—ready for the attack. After the success of "Imperial Austria," S&C was invited to design "Zum Schutz des Landes," the exhibition at the Landeszeughaus—the largest historic armory in the world—explaining its origins.

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Sixth Floor Museum

The sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository has been transformed into an intense exhibition that examines the death of President John F. Kennedy. With nearly 400 historic photographs, six film presentations, and numerous artifacts, the exhibition documents the events of 22–24 November 1963, the myriad investigations, and the legacy of this international tragedy. As the designer, Staples & Charles worked closely with the project director on the content of the exhibition and with the restoration architect to preserve the mood and fabric of the old warehouse building. Opened in 1989, the "Sixth Floor" continues to be extremely well received, reflected not only in numbers of visitors, but in their thoughtful responses.