secrets of the unseen cover image
part of the vera rubin exhibition space

Secrets of the Unseen


This project asked that I design an exhibition for someone who is renowned within their field or community. A very important factor that needed to be considered for this project was making sure that our space followed ADA guidelines so that the exhibition is not only safe but also accessible.


The exhibition is based on American astronomer, Vera Rubin, who is most well known for her research that contributed to the confirmation of dark matter, a substance that makes up a vast bulk of the universe. The exhibit immerses visitors into a space-like atmosphere and leads them through the evidence that Vera Rubin produced in order to prove the existence of something invisible in an interactive space.

sketches for exhibition spaces


When I first started working on this project, I sketched out ideas of how I would want the space to be explored along with what structures I would like to add to the experience. I wanted the exhibition space to play with light and darkness to reveal the secrets of dark matter, so multiple pieces of the exhibit use projection mapping and black light in order to give it an otherworldly feel.

A crucial piece of evidence that proved the existence of dark matter was how light travels through space, so I also wanted visitors to be able to see what Vera Rubin saw when she looked through her spectrograph to record the specifications of how the light was received.

floor plan for exhbition space

After coming up with what would inhabit the exhibit, I developed a floor plan to map out how and in what order I would want visitors to experience each part of the exhibit.

Since the exhibition space is based off the dimensions of a real building, I wanted to use the hallway in the original floor plan as a star walk to prepare visitors for the theme of the room ahead. The entry room would introduce Vera Rubin and her importance to the study of astronomy followed by a larger room with a model spectrograph and visual explanations on Vera Rubin's research. Visitors can then move to either projection rooms, one showing projections of how the universe would look without dark matter holding it together or the other that fills the room with the closest generated imagery we have of what dark matter would look like if we could see it.

another part of the exhibit