NC Museum of Natural Sciences

The space I traveled and reviewed was the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. I went on a rainy weekend morning and it was very packed. There were children and parents everywhere and a few scattered couples here and there. Walking in it was very bright and welcoming, it made me want to look around and look at all of the exhibits around the entrance. I could tell there was a certain way of navigating so I went to the right and entered into the first exhibition, the coastlands. That wrapped me back around to the middle of the grand entrance and from there I proceeded up the escalator to the second floor. I looked at the map and saw that each floor was very similar layout wise but there was another building I could see in the layout. The second building of the NCMNS was connected with a bridge and seemed very off to the side and not very noticeable. I wouldn’t have noticed it had I not looked at the signage. The directory was color coded, showed bathrooms, and used icons to highlight certain popular exhibits (Ex. the butterfly room, the globe, etc.) The direction and navigation of the museum was fairly easy, it was only difficult for me to find elevators and I could tell that the building over the bridge was less busy- possibly because of how its hidden. I went over the bridge on the second floor over to the natural research area, there I was a little doubtful of where I was. This was much more open and as I walked I felt like I was missing a lot, had passed an exhibit. It was a lot darker than the wide open area I was used to in the other building. After exploring this area on the second floor, I passed back through the bridge over to the main building and went up to the fourth floor where I sat a small cafe and had some coffee. I took some notes on the people sitting there. There were young children and parents mostly. The parents used it as a place to talk and catch up (mom’s at the museum together) while their kids ran around wild since the area was enclosed by glass doors. These glass doors I noticed were near most escalators to prevent children from going to different floors without their parents or falling and getting hurt on them. I navigated the building by floor. Since it was a museum with lots of exhibits, I didn’t want to miss anything. I walked thoroughly through each exhibit and area. The only place I did not enter was the discovery room on the third floor because it was offered only to children and families. To improve the system I would have more signage to promote the second building over the bridge. I talked to a head of security and asked him if there is a significant drop of visitors that even make it to the bridge and he said about 50% of the visitors make it over to the other building. That is a significant problem and I believe either clearing the wall that hides the bridge or increasing signage for an exhibit with thorough directions on how to get there would help.