• Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center

    Project PDF Museum Website


    Hutchinson, Kansas

    Role: Architect & Museum Planner for Renovated Museum; Led team of engineers, landscape designers, and specialist consultants; Lead team of Exhibit Designers (West Office) and Fabricators (Maltbie)

    Program: Renovated existing exhibits, new educational interactive and participatory exhibits, new Entrance with a signature canopy, newly defined free/paid zones, renovated Space Camp, new Introductory Gallery, new Temporary Gallery, new Kids Discovery Room, new Current & Future Technology Gallery, and new Science Now area.

    Building Area: 105,000 sf renovation plus expansion.

    Status: Architectural and exhibit design phases

    Description: The existing Cosmosphere museum houses the world’s second largest U.S. space artifact collection (second only to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) and the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. In recent years, the institution was seeing the effects of an economic recession, a waning interest in space exploration history, and a loyal supporter base that was aging out. In 2013, VJI was commissioned to develop a comprehensive Museum Revitalization Plan for their long-term sustainability and future.

    VernerJohnson developed a new exciting and economic viability vision that included institutional, physical, operational and implementation recommendations. VJI determined that the institution should not significantly expand their physical facility (at least initially), but rather pursue a rebranding that increased the institution’s national and international visibility and broadened it’s mission, programs, and visitor experiences. Against the backdrop of a world-class collection of artifacts and space science exhibits, the proposed new focus would extend beyond just space history to include informal learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

    By reorganizing and consolidating the public circulation areas within the museum, VJI was able to make better use of underutilized and inefficient space, transforming them into new and improved exhibition, public program and support areas. This is a highly cost effective approach that significantly enhanced Cosmosphere’s long-term financial sustainability. New current, relevant, constantly changing displays will educate visitors about what is happening right now in the world of space exploration, and the insertion of dedicated areas within the museum that offer updated, relevant, immersive, and interactive experiences for visitors (of all ages) will encourage return visits

    History Museums | Recent | Revitalizations | Science Museums