The 139,000-square foot National Park Service facility, which is operated in partnership with the non-profit Gettysburg Foundation, replaces the former visitor facilities located on the key battleground of Cemetery Ridge. The new building orients visitors to the park, features exhibits that place the Battle of Gettysburg in the larger context of American history, preserves the park's massive collection of Civil War and Gettysburg artifacts, and showcases the famous, historic Cyclorama painting (which will open Sept. 26, 2008).
"The Museum & Visitor Center is a large facility, and Electrosonic played a role in its multiple theaters, touchscreen interactives, map exhibits and the Cyclorama sound and light show," notes Andrew Kidd, business development manager and technology consultant.
Upon arriving at the Center visitors can watch a brief orientation presentation that helps them plan their visit. The presentation features three synchronized Alcorn McBride SD players and corresponding 50-inch Panasonic plasma screens furnished by Electrosonic.
Visitors then proceed to one of two identical 150-seat theaters for a 22-minute feature film, A New Birth of Freedom, narrated by Morgan Freeman, running in an alternating cycle, which sets the scene for the Cyclorama painting experience they are about to see. (Until the Cyclorama experience opens Sept. 26, visitors will view only the feature film.) Each theater is outfitted with a 47x13-foot curved Hurley screen, Christie projectors, three QuVis HD players genlocked together, and a full 5.1 sound system with EAW speakers and Bag End subwoofers.
Beginning in September, visitors-after viewing the film-will ride a 35-foot escalator to a viewing platform eye level with the horizon of the Cyclorama painting. The famous painting -- which measures 377x26 feet -- depicts Pickett's Charge, the turning point in the Battle of Gettysburg and arguably the war. It was painted in 1884 and toured the country, bringing the battle to life for millions of people in the days before movies and electronic media. Conservation on the Cyclorama began in 2003 and, when complete, the experience will include the painting, a canopy and a three-dimensional diorama that combine to immerse visitors in the climactic battle at Gettysburg.
Electrosonic has supplied the sound portion of the show with 34 channels of synchronized sources in the form of two Fostex 24-channel players synchronized with SMPTE time code, 52 Tannoy V12 and V8 speakers, 8 Bag End subs, a Media Matrix Nion DSP and a Medialon control system. All amplifiers are QSC. "With speakers all around the space and overhead, sound can appear anywhere in the painting -- general ambient sound, voices from a specific portion of the Cyclorama, a cannon shot which flies overhead and disappears on the other side," Kidd points out.
When the sound and light show concludes, visitors will walk downstairs to the mezzanine level where a smaller high-resolution photo of the Cyclorama painting will be on view along with two supporting Cyclorama gallery kiosks. Electrosonic furnished a pair of 17-inch JVC flat panels and two Alcorn McBride MPEG video players for the kiosks.
An audio-only system welcomes visitors to the entrance of the Museum Exhibit Galleries containing artifacts and numerous small theaters and touchscreen interactive components, which trace the Civil War's timeline.
"The Causes of War" HD video presentation features Panasonic projectors, Alcorn McBride HD players, JBL speakers and a display surface consisting of three textured wooden wallboards, each 9.5 feet wide, butted up against each other.
The question "Secession or Union?" is explored on two back-to-back touchscreen interactives. They are configured with ELO 32-inch touchscreens, Dell computer sources and a second eye-level 46-inch NEC slave screen to facilitate viewing for visitors behind the touchscreen user. A Dakota Audio mini steered array speakers contains audio to the space.
Next, comes the first of two graphical map exhibits. The "Animated Civil War Battle Map" is entirely computer-generated and features a Panasonic projector, 11-foot wide screen and JBL speakers.
Visitors then proceed to the first of two Voices Theaters, which details the campaign leading up to Gettysburg. The SD video is displayed on a 50-inch Panasonic plasma screen; JBL speakers are ceiling mounted. "A Day in the Life" of a foot soldier is depicted in two touchscreen interactives which follow.
Three Battle of Gettysburg Theaters, identical in configuration but showing different perspectives of the three-day battle, have 11-foot wide Hurley screens, Alcorn McBride HD players, Panasonic projectors and JBL speakers from Electrosonic.
Three more touchscreen interactives with 32-inch ELO touchscreens and one "Signal Flag" interactive with ELO touchscreen and 46-inch NEC slave, follow.
Next up is the second Voices Theater, identical in its configuration to the first, which looks at the battle's "Aftermath."
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is explored in two computer interactives and a mini walk-in, audio-only theater. The dramatic spoken words of the Address are delivered via Alcorn McBride digital audio machines and JBL ceiling-mounted speakers.
The second graphical map exhibit, "From Gettysburg to Appomattox," sports the same equipment as the first. It takes visitors along the timeline to the end of the war. The "After the War" theater is outfitted with a 14-foot wide screen, Alcorn McBride HD player, Panasonic projector and JBL speakers, including a ceiling mounted sub-woofer.
An additional touchscreen interactive details the preservation of monuments. Visitors can also use the Resource Room, which Electrosonic supplied with 12 PCs and 12 24-inch Samsung flat panels, to access material used in the Center's interactives.
The Exhibit Galleries feature AMX control and Media Matrix Digitool DSP. The theaterss and the Cyclorama's timed shows have Medialon control; the theaters also have Media Matrix Nion DSP.
Both inside and outside the Center, Electrosonic has furnished equipment for digital signage applications. Two kiosks with sunlight-viewable screens in temperature-controlled cases by Suncutter preview the Center for visitors en route to the building from the parking lots. Inside, four 46-inch NEC flat panels above the ticketing kiosks display animated graphical information such as prices and upcoming events. Additional signage includes a donor database touchscreen and an informational National Park Service screen.
Video media for all video pieces in the Center's 150-seat theaters, the Cyclorama experience and the exhibit galleries was produced by Donna Lawrence Productions. Second Story provided media production for the interactives and the signage. Bob Haroutunian headed the AV design team at PPI. Gallagher and Associates was the exhibit designer and Art Guild Inc. the exhibit fabricator.
At Electrosonic, Marcelo Videla was project manager and Bryan Abelowitz and Andrew Kidd provided design assistance. Tony Peugh handled all the programming and engineering for the theaters and the Cyclorama.
Electrosonic is a worldwide audio-visual company that operates in three ways: as a systems integrator, as a product manufacturer, and as a service provider for AV facilities. Founded in 1964, Electrosonic has always been among the first to apply new technology to create tailored, state-of-the-art solutions that meet the challenges of the professional AV market.
Electrosonic's system integration business has a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has through its 40 year history developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Electrosonic brings a unique breadth of experience to each project, backed by solid engineering skills, project management and quality production facilities. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic can provide a wide range of services including consultancy, technical design, maintenance, lamp leasing and operational support.