Anyone who has spent significant time in our national parks is familiar with the sight of wayside exhibits, signs that provide background and information about the natural and cultural surroundings. These panels can enhance visitors’ experience in our natural lands by identifying local flora and fauna, explaining geographical formations, and tracing historical events. While we may appreciate the service these exhibits provide, we might not readily think about the research and design decisions that go into them.
Here we offer a glimpse at the work-in-progress of generating exhibits for Mojave National Preserve. Mojave currently has few such panels interpreting the preserve’s natural and cultural resources, so GBI has been collaborating with the National Parks Service to increase their number and improve visitors’ understanding and connection with their environment. GBI Research Associate Barbara Michel created the below draft panels after conducting thorough research, not only to create content, but also to determine which subjects merit inclusion and which locations will most effectively reach the public . These drafts will be reviewed by NPS personnel and, upon approval, work will begin on their eventual installation. Unfortunately, installation can take time, so these may not be visible to park visitors for two or three years. But thereafter they should serve an important role in increasing the public’s appreciation of Mojave National Preserve.