Newly Renovated and Expanded South Carolina State Museum Now Open

August 28, 2014

Photos courtesy South Carolina State Museum unless noted.

The South Carolina State Museum’s new planetarium, observatory and 4D theater is now open to the public. The State Museum hopes that this major transformation will help propel its mission to entertain, inspire imagination and creativity, and enrich the lives of visitors.

The renovated and expanded State Museum will be the first museum of its kind to house, under one roof, an onsite and online observatory and classroom, a 55-foot digital planetarium dome and a 4D multisensory theater.  The museum also features an outdoor viewing terrace for its vintage 1926 Alvan Clark 12-3/8” refracting telescope, as well as new gallery exhibit space for the Robert B. Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy telescopes and optics, considered the largest collection of historic American refracting telescopes in the world. 

Photo credit: Brett Flashnick

Photo credit: Brett Flashnick

The State Museum is one of the largest examples of an astronomy/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) educational facility connected to an interdisciplinary museum, and it will be the first organization in the nation to allow students and teachers to remotely control a digitized vintage telescope for distance education purposes.

JRA was retained by the State Museum as a thematic design consultant.  JRA’s scope of work included planning and conceptual design, interior and exterior environmental graphics, concept and schematic design for the new retail store, materials and finishes selection, and design input for much of the common areas, which included enhanced guest services and meeting capabilities within the museum.  The JRA-designed Main Lobby showcases iconic South Carolina artifacts representing the museum’s four disciplines: art, cultural history, natural history and science and technology and will also feature permanent exhibits occupied by the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, South Carolina Educational Television and the South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. The Cotton Mill Exchange museum store, one of the cornerstones of the expansion project, embodies the essence of the old mill in which the museum is housed, and features newly uncovered brick walls and windows dating back to 1894.

Photo credit: Brett Flashnick

The new State Museum will have a significant economic impact on the City of Columbia and the State of South Carolina.  The museum expects an additional 75,000 visitors in the first year and a growth in annual earned income from $1.5 million to $3 million.  Longer visitor dwell times will result in increased spending both at the museum and at surrounding restaurants, retail outlets and hotels, and the expansion’s aggregate economic benefit will boost tax revenues for the city, county, region and state.

“JRA helped fulfill our vision and did a remarkable job creating a thematic design that celebrates South Carolina and our historic mill building,” said Willie Calloway, executive director, S.C. State Museum.  “We are glad we hired the best-of-the best in the entertainment design industry to create a unique facility and experience for our guests.”

The State Museum is located at 301 Gervais Street, Columbia, S.C., 29201. For additional information and ticket prices, please visit

Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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PHOTOS: Angry Birds Take Flight at Dubai World Trade Centre

August 08, 2014

As we reported in June, Angry Birds Universe, developed by Imagine Exhbitions in partnership with Rovio and JRA, is taking its initial flight at the Dubai World Trade Centre this summer as part of the Dubai Summer Surprises festival.  Thousands of Dubai residents and visitors are enjoying this life-size version of the popular game, but if you can't be there in person, consider these photos your admission ticket:

Animation Station - Create your own version of this global gaming phenomenon!

Guests can Be the Bird, flying through the air just like the Angry Birds!

Kids young and old can build their very own version of an Angry Bird in the Build-A-Bird area.

Meet the Birds!

Shoot Birds at obstacles just like in the game with The Slingshot. It's a "ph"un way to learn about physics!

From digital games to physical interactives, Angry Birds Universe offers a one-of-kind immersive experience, and a great way to beat the Dubai heat!

For more photos of Angry Birds Universe, visit Imagine Exhibition's photo gallery or check out our Facebook page.

Next week, we add another project opening to our 2014 slate of announcements.  Stay tuned!



Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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St. Louis to Singapore, Sochi to Beijing - JRA's 2014 Year In Design (So Far)

July 31, 2014

2014 has been a great year for JRA thus far.  We witnessed openings of our museum and theme park projects from Sochi to Singapore, and we celebrated the Thea Award for The Mind Museum.  We also enjoyed attending one of the biggest and best IAAPA Asian Attractions Expos ever.

We invite you to read about all this and more in our latest "JRA Studio View". Inside, you can learn about our projects, meet some of our team, and read Keith James' thoughts on the future of the burgeoning China leisure market (many thanks to our friends at Blooloop for publishing this piece on their Bemusement blog this week!).

Just click on the image below to access the newsletter. We'd like to think these announcements are just a taste of great things to come this year, so we hope you'll continue to follow us right here on the blog, on our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages and at @JRAtweets.  Coming soon on JRA + blog, photos from the Dubai launch of Angry Birds Universe and a look at how theatre and themed entertainment really aren't that different.  Thanks for reading!


Tags: Asia , Blog N Learn , JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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Conference World Tour 2014: Chloe James Hausfeld's Asian Adventures

July 10, 2014

Chloe James Hausfeld - Your Tour Guide Through Beijing and The Philippines

Chloe James Hausfeld - Your Tour Guide Through Beijing and The Philippines

Just a few weeks ago, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) held their annual Asian Attractions Expo in Beijing, as well as a post-show "More Fun in the Philippines Tour".  JRA Executive Assistant, Chloe James Hausfeld, graciously offered to chronicle her 12-day trip, so without further ado, here's Chloe's IAAPA Asia Travelogue:


I arrived in Beijing, late in the evening...checked into the hotel, and ordered the safest meal on the "Late Night Room Service Menu": wonton soup.  Gotta be in good shape for a long trip!

Woke up ridiculously early and unpacked.  The only good thing about jet lag on this trip was there was great TV on..."HELLO WORLD CUP!"  I barely missed a game. 

I got my bearings throughout the day and made my way over to the China National Convention Center to check on the process of the booth. Met up with "old industry friend" and former JRA team, Dawn Tong for drinks and dinner. 

Made a new friend, and decided he should come home with Ping Ping has a special spot on my desk!

Ping Ping made it home. :-)

Took an early walk through Tiananmen Square, and then an incredible tour of The Forbidden City.  It truly is an amazing place.

Tiananmen Square - I still can't decide if I'm bummed about not seeing Chairman Mao, or not??

I would have definitely been okay living here!

Got dropped back off at the Convention Center to check on the booth, which looked great!

No issues with the booth = happy Chloe

COO Dan Schultz and JRA Malaysia Director Shah Azmi arrived in the felt great to have some of the JRA family with me at last (and I got to show off my new Chinese dress!). 

Dressed and ready to go!

The Opening Ceremony was a hit, with great "giveaways" as well as phenomenal entertainment.

Opening Ceremony welcome sign

Dan lookin' good in a giveaway!

Only way to open an IAAPA event...have the Chairman start it off with a song!

To top off an extremely successful first show day, I attended the Opening Reception with "The 3 Amigos" for a few cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

My dates for the week - Dan, VP of Marketing & Business Development Shawn McCoy, and Sr. Project Director Matthew Wheeler

We were lucky to be able to enjoy a nice, relaxing dinner with fellow members of the JRA family, Art Director David Ferguson and Senior Project Manager Heather Witt.  They were in town working on the Lao Niu Discovery Museum of CNCC.


Day Two of the show started off with a successful breakfast project meeting at the hotel, followed by another busy day at the booth.  As a member of the IAAPA Young Professionals Subcommittee, I attended the YP Forum, led by Shaun McKeogh of Management Resources, and fellow subcommittee member, Doug Akers of Sentosa

Members of IAAPA's Board of Directors share their stories

The evening was filled with great events such as the TEA Party, as well as the Kingsmen's "Chill Out"...although, I don't believe it is possible to "chill out" in Beijing in June.

JRA's COO, Dan Schultz, along with TEA's Asia Board Members Shahryn Azmi of JRA, Peter Sanderson of The Sanderson Group and Chris Yoshi of AECOM

Proud to see The Mind Museum's Thea Award recognition on the reel at the TEA party

Neat sculptures at the Kingsmen event

Kingsmen welcome sign


Day Three of the Expo began with a panel presentation involving none other than our own Shawn McCoy.

"Protecting Your Intellectual Property"

Always a great speaker!

The day ended, and I had the booth packed up in record time, looking forward to a delicious dinner on the 56th floor of the Grand Hyatt.

Great view, with great people

I was then happy to spend a night on the town with former JRA team member (and Rovio's current Director of Location Based Entertainment and Development), Eric Lee.

Great to see old friends!

World Cup, and ....MUCH NEEDED REST!!  Enough said.

 I found this cutout the previous evening with Eric, but believe it is better suited for this day of events...

I enjoyed my last breakfast in Beijing, ready to head to the Philippines for the IAAPA Post Tour.  Little did I know that we would spend 4 hours sitting on the plane at the gate. When we FINALLY reached the Philippines, we were immediately taken to a warm welcome reception at Enchanted Kingdom.

We FINALLY made it!!!

Welcome sign

Best entertainers around!

The group decided that a nightcap was necessary after our journey, and were happy to find that Raffles' Longbar was open 24/7 due to the World Cup...looks like I knew where I was headed for the USA game in a few hours time. 

After watching the first half of the USA Game, I decided my neighbors probably didn't appreciate the volume levels of yells that were coming from my room.  After taking a three-minute shower, in the dark no less (figured out where the light switch was later...again, it was very early), I rushed down to catch the second half of the heartbreaking game at Raffles.  I think it's safe to say that the 7 people in the bar (including employees) thought that I had lost my mind by the 95th minute.  Needless to say, that was not how I wanted to begin my day. 


After Dan consoled me over breakfast, I was determined to begin the rest of the day on a more positive note.  What better way than to step on US soil at the breathtaking American Cemetery and War Memorial.  They are truly no words for how moving that place is. 

Walls and walls of the names of brave men


The JRA crew, Dan, Matthew and I, were thrilled for our next stop...The Mind Museum.  They really "threw out all the stops" for the IAAPA group, and we were proud to have been a part of that incredible project. 

Adorably themed table decor for lunch at The Mind Museum

Checking out the whale shark with Megan Noland

The tour continued to Bonifacio High Street, Fort Santiago and the Walled City of Itramuros. 

Fort Santiago

Making new friends

Beautiful old church


We finished our tour with a Filipino barrio fiesta filled with great food, music and dancing.

A fantastic welcome

The evening was then topped off with an outing by way of a Jeepsie with great friends! 

As if I weren't already craving American/Cincinnati food enough, they had to have a Frisch's Big Boy...think they have the IP licensing for that??


Our last day in the Philippines started with a scenic journey to the beautiful Taal Lake & Volcano in Tagaytay, Cavite.  I could have taken in that view all day. It was truly a site to behold.

I told you it was beautiful!

Can anyone say, "new profile pic"??

Couldn't leave without taking a selfie

Taking in the view

JRA family portrait

On the way back to Manila, we stopped at Zamperla Asia Pacific Inc., known as "ZAP", which is Antonio Zamperla's manufacturing company in the Philippines. 


Extremely impressive manufacturing factory, filled with wonderful people

What would a trip be like without a little ethnic shopping?  To fill that void, we were then brought to Makati City to do some shopping. Then, to end IAAPA's More Fun in the Philippines tour, we were treated to another enjoyable evening of dinner, music and dancing.  Karaoke might have been involved...

An Italian serenade with a little Filipino flare

We had a ride to the airport at 3:30 a.m. the next morning, so sleep was not a good option for me.  Therefore, I consoled the Zamperla crew while we watched Italy play in their final World Cup match. 


Dan, Matthew and I were en route home!!!  I spent the next 24 hours in cars, planes, and airport lounges, enjoying naps, food, and movies (Despicable Me 1 & 2, Memphis Belle & The Heat). 

HOME SWEET HOME...with Skyline for dinner, or course.  After all, this is Cincinnati. :)


Thanks, Chloe! Next week, we'll be making yet another new project announcement!  It's been a busy summer here at JRA...


Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: Dubai Summer Surprises 2014 to Host Angry Birds Universe World Premiere

June 30, 2014

The Angry Birds are landing in Dubai next month.

The Angry Birds are landing in Dubai next month.

Travelling exhibit for all ages to kick-off global tour in UAE

Dubai Summer Surprises, the leading summer festival in the region, is proud to host the world premiere of the travelling exhibition “Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science Behind a Global Phenomenon.”

Dubai Summer Surprises, organised by Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), runs from 2 August to 5 September and promises a month-long festival of great shopping deals and fun-filled, family-oriented entertainment throughout the city.

Imagine Exhibitions, Inc., in partnership with Rovio Entertainment Ltd., and Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), developed this unique exhibition to present, in partnership with Live Nation Middle East, an educational and highly interactive attraction unlike any other on the market.

Angry Birds Universe will open on 28 July at Modhesh World, one of the region’s most popular indoor family edutainment destinations, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Based on the popular Angry Birds games, fans of all ages will have fun learning a wide variety of educational concepts in an extremely hands-on environment. Fans will also have the chance to “be the bird” in a unique, full-body demonstration of Angry Birds physics!

H.E. Laila Mohd Suhail, DFRE CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to offer our Dubai visitors and residents a unique entertainment experience that would take them to a whole new level of interactive fun. Furthermore, this step comes in line with DFRE’s endeavour to create strategic partnerships with leading global entertainment entities, which has resulted in bringing a world premiere of a game concept that has millions of fans across the world. This will surely cement Dubai’s position as a leading hub for world class events.”

Throughout the immersive experience, families will be introduced to the beloved Angry Birds characters like never before in an interactive adventure with approximately 30 hands-on activities including 10 simple machine bird launching stations, 4 full body experiences, 6 map stamping stations, 20 iPad gaming stations, and 12 opportunities for personal creativity and hands-on creation! These hands-on activities seamlessly teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) concepts and will delight guests of all ages!

The exhibition’s most thrilling attraction is a one-of-a-kind “be the bird” experience: safely propelling guests on zip lines to knock over enormous foam structures, just like the Angry Birds!  In addition, other full-body attractions include a Laser Maze, Climbing Wall, Planetarium, and oversized Sling Shot activity.

Angry Birds Universe features numerous opportunities for families to work together, building creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. For example, parents and children are able to build and test a variety of structures against the impact of Angry Birds launched by other guests. Additionally, guests of all ages can utilize a state-of-the-art design studio to explore their creative side through experiments with character design, animation and sound production related to the Angry Birds games. These exhibits give young visitors an idea of what it’s like to pursue careers in science and technology – all while having fun!

Tom Zaller, President & CEO of Imagine Exhibitions, Inc. commented: “The Angry Birds games and characters are both recognized and loved throughout the world. Combining this worldwide passion for the games with hands on discovery in a 3 dimensional setting allows our visitors to truly engage with the Angry Birds characters like never before.” 

"The Rovio team is very excited to have our Angry Birds Universe exhibition premiere at Modhesh World in the United Arab Emirates," said Jukka Koivu, Head of Location Based Entertainment for Rovio Entertainment. "The Dubai World Trade Center has an excellent reputation for hosting world class events, which makes it the perfect venue to bring our games, characters, and STEAM educational elements to life for the very first time in the UAE."
For more details please visit

Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science Behind a Global Phenomenon will be open daily to the public at Modhesh World in Dubai World Trade Centre. Visit

# # #
About Imagine Exhibitions, Inc.
Imagine Exhibitions, Inc. is the global resource for all aspects of exhibitions and attractions. From design to creation, placement to presentation, marketing and operations, Imagine has the experience and inspiration to bring the best possible experience to any venue. Imagine is currently producing and touring 25 exhibitions in museums, science centers, aquariums, integrated resort properties and non traditional venues throughout the world. For more information, visit or visit the Facebook page.

About Rovio Entertainment
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, the creator of Angry Birds™ is a global industry-changing entertainment media company headquartered in Finland that creatively combines digital with physical, breaking the boundaries of traditional content delivery. What started as a casual game in 2009 became an international phenomenon within a few months of its release. Today Angry Birds is not only the most downloaded game of all time, it is a worldwide known entertainment brand reaching out into publishing, licensing, animations, books and location based entertainment. Rovio's animated Angry Birds feature film is slated for July, 2016.

About JRA (Jack Rouse Associates)
JRA plans, designs and realizes exceptional visitor experiences for museums, theme parks cultural, sport and corporate clients around the world. JRA has provided design and project management services for a variety of high-profile branded projects including The Crayola Experience, World of Coca-Cola and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Visit

About Live Nation Entertainment
Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world's leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation & House of Blues Concerts, LN Media and Artist Nation Management. For additional information, visit:

About DSS organiser, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE)
DFRE is an agency of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and, as the pioneer organiser of events and festivals, is responsible for positioning Dubai as a world-class shopping and tourism destination. Each year it works with its retail and leisure partners to organise the internationally renowned Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, as well as annual events such as Ramadan in Dubai, Eid in Dubai, Modhesh World, Dubai Motor Festival and Dubai Food Festival.


Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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