The National Motorboat Show is a permanent, narrative-led exhibit of American culture and boating in the early 1900’s for the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY. The exhibition immerses visitors in a recreation of an early 1900’s boat show in New York City, as well as a variety of stories and experiences that contribute to a deeper understanding of the time period and cultural resonance of boating. Borrowing from the visual language of the past, we created an environment to display the wealth and optimism of American boating in the early twentieth century. In addition to commissioning a sign-painter in Clayton, we researched each boat in the show in order to recreate advertisements, photographs and ephemera that we imagined each company would present on the trade show floor.
At the center of the exhibit, is a large-scale praxinoscope. Invented in 1890, the praxinoscope was at the forefront of cinema and fascinated the public with it’s realistic simulation of motion. To capture the excitement at the heart of these historic boat shows, we designed and produced an interactive experience that lets visitors operate a large-scale praxinoscope displaying moving images of turn-of-the-century boating scenes.