First of its kind ‘experimental museum’ by Smithsonian designers coming to Columbus

Sav McKee

The local design company, Roto, may be based in Dublin, Ohio, but their exhibit portfolio expands both nationally and internationally, with 250+ projects at places like Smithsonian, Getty Museum, Times Square, Universal Studios, plus COSI and The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Needless to say, they know a thing or two about what makes a great museum and a fantastic experience.

Now, they’re planning on bringing a new, first-of-its-kind, multi-sensory, “experimental type of museum” to Downtown Columbus. They’re keeping the name and concept a secret for now, but Roto fortunately did share some exciting details with us.

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This 30,000 square foot museum will be located at the Audubon Park Offices along the Whittier Peninsula, right next to Nocterra Brewing, Vertical Adventures, and the Fit Club. It’s projected to open sometime later this year, depending on construction. The local architectural firm, MA Design, has been contracted by Roto for this construction.

Joseph Wisne, Roto’s co-founder, president, and CEO, said he’s excited to be Downtown. “The idea of an experimental museum is to have room to actually experiment!” he explained. “There are already immersive experiences out in the suburbs, too. We looked and looked and finally found the perfect spot.”

If you’re imagining another COSI-esque museum, well, it won’t be quite like that. At all, actually. “We want to focus primarily on the experiences of adults and young adults,” Wisne said. “That area of museums tends to lose customers the most.”

And although the types of experiences offered won’t be shared for a couple of months, Wisne did say that every visitor at this new museum “will help shape the future of all museums.” Virtual reality and high-end technology will be at the forefront, plus “all of those things and more,” Wisne discretely mentioned. 

“The future of museums and attractions is being shaped by creative design technology. We are excited to be building something truly original that will only be found here in Columbus,” said Wisne.

Roto has been in business for the past 20 years, proudly collaborating with nonprofit institutions that focus on preservation, education, and history, creating stunning and unique exhibits for museums and science centers alike.

This Columbus-based company is now the leading museum design-builder in North America. “These types of museums need support, and we’re happy to help,” said Wisne. 

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