Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a powerful and very special place, and employees are committed to furthering the Monument’s mission of research, education, recreation, and public safety. A recent update of the Monument’s Interpretive Plan has identified the need for corresponding updates to exhibits and audiovisual programs at the Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO) as well as for interpretive signs and waysides Monument-wide. As the landscape has and continues to change, so too have our messages.
This project is comprised of a package of five interrelated components as follows:
Mount St, Helens Monument-wide Wayside Exhibit Update Project
Separate project proposals were prepared for each of the five components and are attached to this request for technical approval.
Purpose of and Need for the Exhibits
The overall objectives are to:
Update existing exhibits that have been in place at JRO for the last 13 years to convey ongoing scientific discovery and geologic monitoring at Mount St. Helens and help visitors understand lessons learned through three decades of scientific research and discovery
Make exhibits more accessible by adding directional speakers and providing translation to reach visually impaired, hearing impaired and non-English speaking visitors.
Provide JRO with some of the biological exhibit and audiovisual content that was lost due to the closure of the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center in 2008
Encourage visitors explore the east and south sides of the Monument
Update self-directed interpretive experiences Monument-wide through the development of up-to-date interpretive signing and the addition of touchscreen kiosks to Pine Creek Information Station and Cascades Peaks
Strengthen the Monument’s overall brand and identity through the application of consistent design and style elements
The Plan for Interpretation, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Gifford Pinchot National Forest documents the audience analysis, visitor experiences, exhibit design guidelines, interpretive themes, and media recommendations pertaining to this series of projects. A copy of this plan on CD has been provided to Kristen Nelson, WO Interpretive Program Manager.
See attached individual project proposals for specific interpretive goals.
The Monument has a history of successfully planning, preparing, contracting for, and implementing projects and contracts similar to those required by this project.
Peter Frenzen, Monument Scientist and overall Manager for the package of exhibit and audiovisual upgrades, has worked at Mount St. Helens for more than 25 years. During that time, he has been intimately involved in the planning and development of all the Monument’s major interpretive centers and sites, including the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center, and Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Robert West, Project Coordinator, has background in both interpretation and partnerships. Todd Cullings, Interpretive Specialist and long-time Monument employee, has been involved through the years in the development of interpretive, exhibit, and wayside plans, as well as writing interpretive text. Kristine Cochrane, Interpretive Specialist, has assisted in the review of numerous interpretive projects at the Monument over the last decade. Becky Railey, contract Interpretive Specialist, was a former Monument employee and has extensive interpretive experience with the National Park Service. This project team, under the leadership of Peter Frenzen and with the oversight of the Monument Manager, Tom Mulder is fully capable of effectively implementing this multi-faceted project.
Forest and Regional Staff, including the Regional Interpretive and Accessibility Specialists, will participate as reviewers in each phase of component project contract preparation and implementation.
Design guidelines are used to define the quality and maintain the consistency of interpretive products and services. Adherence to design guidelines throughout the site will also help improve the readability and aesthetic quality, as well as foster visitor comprehension and interest. The following guidelines are taken from the Monument’s revised interpretive plan.
Interpretation should be presented in layers of information for each sub-theme and storyline, going from basic concepts to more detailed information. This helps address the needs of both the casual reader and the subject matter expert.
Where it facilitates learning, sub-themes and storylines should be integrated, to provide for a more comprehensive learning experience.
All interpretive media should blend harmoniously with the interior and exterior environment.
Colors should follow an earth tone palette, with colors inspired by rock, ash, and returning plants.
Structures should use materials found in the landscape, such as boulders, timbers, and natural stone pavers.
Displays, signs, and other visual media should be very eye-catching and immediately intriguing, to quickly pique visitor’s interest.
Interpretive media should accommodate different learning styles (such as auditory, visual, or kinesthetic).
Text should avoid jargon and technical information. It should be thought- provoking but quickly read, following generally accepted rules of interpretive writing.
Interpretive media must adhere to federal accessibility standards.
The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument name and/or symbol and the USDAForest Service shield should be used in interpretive and orientation materials.
Graphics, fonts, and colors should be consistent throughout displays.
All interior and exterior displays should be extremely durable in harsh weather, vandal resistant, and easily maintained.
Regulatory information should be presented in an engaging and interpretive manner.
Interior displays should facilitate unimpeded traffic flow.
The interpretive media should include a creative method of recognizing donors and partners that can be easily updated and incorporated into the interpretive message.
Interior displays should be easily updated/changed. There should also be space dedicated to current events, program schedules, and other changing information.
To the extent possible, displays should be mobile, to allow for easy set-up and storage.
Displays and exhibits should be designed to be completely unattended and very vandal-resistant.
All exterior display panels should be fabricated of a similar material with the highest possible UV protection.
Worn, existing signs and bases should be replaced with fused polycarbonate panels and industry standard bases. Replacement is a high priority.
Exterior signage should be low profile, leaving the view unobstructed.
Signage will be minimal and uncluttered.
“Groundbreaking” on this package of exhibit upgrades and other infrastructure repair projects is timed to coincide with the upcoming 30th anniversary of the May 18, 1980 eruption of the volcano and is intended to be a focal point of the commemoration. This process continues to be an important part of our agency’s response to draft recommendations from the congressionally established Mount St. Helens Advisory Committee.
The exhibit accessibility checklist will be strictly adhered to. It can be found at:
Exhibit Accessibility Checklist, USDA Forest Service Accessibility Program http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/accessibility/smithsonian.htm
Proposed Method/Process to Acquire Exhibit Text Development, Design, Fabrication, and Installation
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, with assistance from the Pacific Northwest Regional Office, has completed an interpretive plan that guides development of these projects. The projects will now be contracted out. The RFP’s include design, fabrication, and/or installation of all exhibits.
Project Manager/Monument Scientist Peter Frenzen GIP
Regional Interpretive Specialist Bonnie Lippitt R6-RO
Roles and Responsibilities:
The Project Manager is the point of contact on day-to-day technical and design issues. In addition, the Project Manager has the overall responsibility of making sure the identified program requirements are met within budget and on schedule. The Project Manager will keep the remaining project staff and Regional Interpretive Specialist informed on project status.
The Project Manager Will:
Provide project management for the project
Develop technical sections of RFP/RFQs exhibit proposals