American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Partners With Roto to Create Exhibits for New Home

  •    Author: Mike Jasfer

Designed by Freeman Kennett Architects, the 23,500 sq. ft. building is scheduled to open in April 2021.

The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame has selected the international exhibit design firm Roto to create and oversee exhibits in its new permanent home at 311 S. Hamilton Street. Designed by Freeman Kennett Architects, the 23,500 sq. ft. building is scheduled to open in April 2021.Based in Columbus, Ohio, the firm represents a new generation of exhibition design that brings fresh, interdisciplinary perspectives and capabilities to the space. “Roto combines the latest in immersive theater, interactivity, embedded technology and social participation with a commitment to preservation and scholarship,” says David Gebhart, chairman of the Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors, and CEO of Global Views. “Our exhibits will be authentic and compelling to both industry insiders and the general public.”The Creative Team comprised of David Gebhart, Global Views; Caroline Hipple, Norwalk; Larry Rogers, consultant; Mark Phillips, Phillips Collection; Mike Herschel, Furniture Marketing Group; Kyle Hughes, Hall of Fame; and Karen McNeill, Hall of Fame, conducted an extensive search of about 30 exhibit firms located on the East Coast in the U.S. and Canada. Specifically targeted were companies with extensive museum exhibit expertise versus those companies with mostly corporate display business. Some companies that were interviewed develop just the concept and the story, while others specialize in display design and technology, or the fabrication and installation. Some offer comprehensive services. After narrowing the search, Creative Team members interviewed select firms, followed by a site visit for a personal review and interaction with the project team that would work with the Hall of Fame.“Roto was our first choice. From the initial contact through the interview process we found them to be professional, creative, good listeners and enthusiastic about home furnishings,” says Caroline Hipple, first vice president of the Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors and president of Norwalk Furniture. “The personal site visit confirmed a great synergy with our vision to create a community and connection, an experience that changes people and ultimately inspires them to focus on creating a beautiful home.”Roto will provide the creative concept for the visitor experience and oversee the design of museum-quality gallery spaces. The company has been charged with providing flexible opportunities and also will be involved in programming content for the two-sided Dynamic Story Wall, a digital matrix of interlaced LED screens, which will be visible from the street on one side and throughout the interior on the other. “Museum audiences are seeking relevancy and authenticity above everything else,” says Joseph Wisne, president and CEO of Roto. “That’s why this incredibly rich world of home furnishings and design can deliver such an exciting and engaging public experience. We can’t wait to get started.”In 2018, the Foundation hired its first curator and historian as an important first step in fulfilling the part of its mission to preserve the history of the home furnishings industry and to tell its story. In addition to preserving the organization’s current memorabilia, the Hall of Fame has been researching and visiting other museums to lay the groundwork for its new home furnishings exhibits. The new space will allow the Foundation to expand its collections and to preserve materials for future generations. Plans call for a rich ongoing calendar of traveling exhibits from around the world.About The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.: The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation is an industry-wide organization founded to preserve its history, to celebrate exceptional individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the U.S. home furnishings industry, and to inspire a new class of innovation and leadership. Membership includes eligibility to nominate candidates for consideration by the Selection Committee, and the opportunity to help preserve the history and heritage of the industry. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, 92 percent of all funds support our history and leadership programming. The organization currently is based in High Point, North Carolina, at 202 Neal Place, Suite 101, and can be reached at 336.882.5900. Watch for ongoing developments and details about the grand opening of a new permanent home, which is targeted for April 2021.About Roto: Roto is a leading creative consultant, interdisciplinary design firm, and turnkey production resource for exceptional experiences and environments. Roto has produced in more than 150 museums with exhibits, attractions, and architectural features throughout the world. We are known for combining professional rigor with generous project flexibility, adapting our approach and contributions to produce highly reliable and cost-effective outcomes. Roto brings planning, design, R&D engineering, and full-scale production capabilities into one contiguous 60,000-square-foot facility, custom-made for our unique style of design-build service. For more information, visit
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