Corn Silo Exhibits at Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

The Rochester Hills Museum has wanted to convert the oldest standing regional corn silo into an exhibition space for a while. It is a challenging room for history exhibits — being, as it is, tight, round, and with walls of brick. Flutter & Wow had already successfully redesigned the adjoining dairy barn into a museum about the history Van Hoosen Farm. In the silo, we are asked to tell a deeper and broader story — to fit ten thousand years of history exhibits into a small, circular space.

It turns out that the silo is a perfect space to manifest one of our favorite pathways into history: multiple multi-disciplinary answers to the question, Where am I standing right now? With a handful of artifacts and compelling graphics, we could lead the visitor on a story of the land, from the perspective of the very spot where they are standing. 

Flutter & Wow was determined to fit ten thousand years of history into this small space. The exhibits begin with the geological formation of the Great Lakes peninsulas and continue to a vivid description of the giant mammals that thrived here as the glaciers receded. 

We researched seven chapters in the history of the spot where the silo stands, and helped develop a collection of artifacts to tell those stories. We engaged experts — in addition to the museum’s own curator and archivist — in Anishinaabe culture, local flora, paleobiology, paleontology, Michigan pioneer history, and livestock silage.

We developed custom mounts for some beautiful and challenging artifacts, including a mastodon leg, a giant beaver skull, Anishinaabe projectile points found on this farm, and a Gunther’s survey chain. We created an electronic interactive exhibit including commissioned illustrations of local plants based on the journals of Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen.

Flutter & Wow helped make history interactive, fun, and inspiring, and we managed to fit ten thousand years of history exhibits into a small, circular space.