Corrales firm hits a home run at the new Jackie Robinson NYC Museum
Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
Visitors to the newly opened Jackie Robinson Museum in New York can take a virtual tour of iconic Ebbets Field where the baseball legend played with the Brooklyn Dodgers, thanks to an immersive new exhibit created by Ideum Inc.
The Corrales-based interactive design firm built a model of the stadium as an iconic exhibit at the museum, which opened in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, giving guests a birds-eye view of team members playing on the field as the scoreboard lights up. and some 33,000 3D-printed fans cheer from the stands. The bullpen, dugouts and press boxes are all lit up, alongside vintage advertising signs seen in the stadium during the Dodgers’ heyday.
There’s even a peephole, or children’s peephole, cut into the left side of the fence surrounding the pitch. And, as visitors watch the action, a large wall of LED tiles behind the stadium model flashes videos and images that tell stories about Robinson, the Dodgers and the stadium, said the founder and CEO of ‘Ideum, Jim Spadaccini.
“It’s an immersive, story-driven platformer with players running around the pitch, fans packed into the stands, and integrated graphics to show it all off,” Spadaccini told the Journal. “And alongside the stadium pattern, the LED tile wall helps to orient the entire visitor experience.”
Since its launch in 1999, Ideum has created hundreds of high-tech interactive displays that today welcome visitors to museums, zoos, libraries, corporate offices and tourist destinations across the United States and around the world. some three dozen other countries. But the Ebbets Field exhibit marks one of Ideum’s most high-profile achievements to date, rewarded by the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which spent more than a decade planning the new museum to showcase the life and Robinson’s accomplishments, not only as a sports icon, but as one of the most important civil rights activists of the 20th century.
Robinson broke through the Major League Baseball color barrier when he made his debut for the Dodgers in the spring of 1947, and after retiring from the sport in 1956, he continued to break more barriers in advertising, broadcasting and business, including the creation of a bank dedicated to helping Black citizens. His widow, Rachel Robinson – who turned 100 in July – set up the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973 to provide scholarships and scholarships for black students.
Rachel Robinson cut the ribbon at the opening of the museum on July 26, which included celebrities such as Spike Lee and Billie Jean King, as well as an opening speech from New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
The 20,000 square foot center includes some 4,500 artifacts and 40,000 historical images. But the Ebbets Field exhibit in particular stood out upon opening, said Ivo Philbert, the foundation’s vice president for community engagement, partnerships and communications.
“Attendees absolutely loved the experience that Ideum helped create,” Philbert told the Journal. “The younger ones especially enjoyed all the interactive tools to navigate the terrain while listening to period music.”
Ideum recreated Ebbets Field from a computerized drawing of the stadium. The firm worked in partnership with the digital experience design division of architectural firm Gensler, who developed the original exhibit concept and wrote the software that tells stories about Robinson’s career and activism. .
Ideum then built the exhibit itself at its manufacturing facility in Corrales.
“We built a prototype out of cardboard first to check measurements etc., then we built the model here and shipped it to New York,” Spadaccini said. “We spent three weeks there installing it, including all the electronics, the projector and the LED tile wall.”
The project reflects a significant recovery in the commercial activity of Ideum, which has suffered from the pandemic.
The company has grown rapidly over the past decade by developing state-of-the-art multi-point display tables that allow users to display visual displays and information at the touch of a finger. And, in recent years, he’s expanded his designs to create immersive “video walls” that combine sensing technology with imaging and audio projection to convert entire rooms into interactive exhibits.
Sales and rentals of Ideum’s exhibition tables, however, declined significantly when the coronavirus pandemic hit, as museums and other customers shunned touch exhibits.
“2020 has been a tough year for us,” Spadaccini said. “Our sales have collapsed.”
But, since last year, business has picked up again, thanks in large part to major total immersion projects, including a sprawling two-building “Wildlife Explorers Basecamp” for children that Ideum built for the zoo in San Diego. This project, which Ideum completed in January, includes more than 20 interactive exhibits focusing on insects and reptiles, with projection and screen technology to create elements such as an illuminated “Living River” hallway and a full-domed projection room showing insect migration. in vibrant colors that change from day to night.
“Children stand in a virtual meadow with flowers and plants, while watching butterflies, crickets and other insects flying overhead,” Spadaccini said. “The migration cycle then turns into night and the children see other species, like fireflies.”
This project alone involved nearly all of the company’s 45 employees, said Rebecca Shreckengast, director of experience at Ideum.
“Projects like this have allowed us to keep our staff on the job with very few layoffs due to the pandemic,” Shreckengast told the Journal.
The Ebbets Field exhibition, on the other hand, offered Ideum a unique opportunity to help highlight the legacy of Jackie Robinson.
“Through this project, our work is now linked to civil rights education at a time when it is essential to tell the story of Jackie Robinson because the issues he faced remain unresolved,” said Spadaccini. “It’s great to be part of it.”
Ideum’s contribution helps improve Robinson’s story, Philbert said.
“We’re really excited about the role this exhibit plays in the museum,” said Philbert. “It really adds to the museum experience and to the impact and legacy of Jackie and Rachel Robinson.”