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Boston's Museum of Science completes the 'Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River' exhibit

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jun 02, 2016 09:00 AM
Tenji has completed the design and construction of MOS' newest exhibit. The Yawkey Gallery provides visitors an interactive experience to help people understand the connection between man and nature on Boston's Charles River.
Boston's Museum of Science completes the 'Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River' exhibit

Tank and crawl-through area with water feature and living walls

All photos are courtesy of Tenji Aquarium Design + Build

Tank and crawl-through area with water feature, living  walls, and kinetic sculpture
Tank and crawl-through area with water feature, living walls, and kinetic sculpture

Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River

Completed April 2016

Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River is the newest permanent exhibition at the Museum of Science (MOS) in Boston, Massachusetts. The exhibit was conceived to "explore the connections between engineering and nature on the Charles River" (fun fact: the Museum is built on top of the Charles River!). The Yawkey Gallery exhibit demonstrates how the natural and engineered world affect each other, examine solutions for problems that are encountered between the two worlds, and help people understand how man connects with nature.

Tenji was hired to develop part of the “how we connect” narrative by bringing aquariums into a space that was never intended for them. Working with the exhibit design department, animal husbandry and facilities at the MOS, along with a local architect, Tenji developed a design consisting of two aquariums (a turtle tank and a fish tank), secure access to these tanks, a crawl-through with windows viewing both tanks, a diorama, and a pop-up with an alternative view of the turtle tank.

The turtle tank is 200 gallons with a natural riverbank theme for painted turtles and a bass.  The river tank is 600 gallons with an engineered riverbank for fish species found in the Charles River.

One of the requirements of the project was that the LSS (life support system) room also had to support the equipment for a 30’ tall by 10’wide water feature and two large "living walls" covered with over 630 square feet of plants.

The LSS has a turnover rate of 30 minutes for the total system volume of 1500 gallons.  Although the system is not large by public aquarium standards, it was nonetheless a challenge to get all the elements to fit within a the desired space, let alone a space with no drainage; remember: the site was never intended for aquaria.  A specially engineered reservoir with computer  controlled pumps was installed to allow the tanks, waterfall, and living w all to drain into and then be pumped to waste water.

Despite its smaller scale, the Yawkey Gallery exhibit employs lots of advanced life-support equipment.  The LSS features a custom reservoir, degassing tower chambers, mechanic bag filtration, UV sterilization, chiller, filtration and circulation pumps, a customized automatic water change control panel, and a custom monitoring and alert computer system.

Tenji Aquarium Design + Build supplied Advanced Aquarist with the following photos of the newly constructed exhibition.

Tank and crawl-through area
Tank and crawl-through area

View of the crawl-through
View of the crawl-through

River Tank

River tank
River tank

Crawl-through view into the river tank
Crawl-through view into the river tank

Detail of river tank substrate
Detail of river tank substrate

River tank's rock work
River tank's rock work

Turtle Tank

Turtle tank
Turtle tank

Top-down view of turtle tank
Top-down view of turtle tank

Bass in the turtle tank
Bass in the turtle tank

Painted turtle in the turtle tank
Painted turtle in the turtle tank

Detail of rock work in turtle tank
Detail of rock work in turtle tank

LSS Equipment Room

LSS room (view 1)
LSS room (view 1)

LSS room (view 2)
LSS room (view 2)

Sewer Diorama

Sewer diorama
Sewer diorama

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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