This week the team had to face some hard truths—we are not nearly as far along as we hoped to be by now. Yes, we’ve had major accomplishments along the way and we’re proud of the work we’ve done, but the fact remains that with our “soft opening” early next week, with our run in Cleveland to follow shortly thereafter, much of this project just hasn’t come together on schedule.
Our team is made up of hard-driven optimists who consistently underestimate how long it’s going to take to accomplish assorted tasks. The construction of props, electrical wiring, coding, and filming of narrative elements has taken weeks longer than we scheduled for. As a result, we’ve spent the last several weeks building and rebuilding, without much time for iteration in between.
There was a point earlier on in the project at which the team imagined showcasing a much more refined product in Cleveland, but the reality we face is that we will be testing much of this for the first time there with the general public who have signed up to participate. While we never intended to have a completely “finalized” version for the museum—we planned out something far too elaborate and expensive to reach that degree of polish over the course of 15 weeks—the team had hoped to conduct significantly more trials and tests here at the ETC before it was in front of museum-goers. With the building continuing through the very last possible minute, the fact of the matter is that much of what we are taking to Cleveland will be untested, and we’re going to have to treat the experience there not only as a test of whether these types of experiences are a good fit for the goals of natural history museums, but also whether our experience works at all.
While not ideal by any means, the team remains committed to delivering the highest quality product possible and if we are not quite ready for the scrutiny that awaits our work on Monday, we fully intend to present a version of this experience we can be truly proud of come later in the week and when we return to Pittsburgh for final presentations.