Established in 1973 by Rachel Robinson, the Jackie Robinson Foundation is dedicated to honoring the legacy and lifework of American professional baseball player Jackie Robinson. From providing education opportunities and scholarships to job placement and international travel opportunities, the foundation has greatly impacted the lives of students across the country. To further educate the public and honor Jackie Robinson’s memory, the non-profit sought to create a museum, the Jackie Robinson Museum, in the lower Manhattan SoHo area of New York City. Located on the 1st floor of 75 Varick Street, the museum is not only home to Robinson’s artifacts and writings, but a place to host dynamic educational programs and serve as a venue for dialogue for critical societal issues.
Ideum, a creative company focused on using emerging technologies to design experiences for public spaces, was first approached by the architect, interiors, and exhibit design team at Gensler in November of 2021. The museum wanted a full exhibit partner that could provide the whole package – fully integrated, end to end project management – without having to source out to multiple parties. George Hardebeck, a senior producer at Ideum, was project lead, leveraging his expertise in projection mapping, AR/VR and complex, technical stage design. Ideum was chosen for this project as one of few firms who could deliver a fully integrated exhibit between the project start of March 2022 and the July opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum, which celebrated Rachel Robinson’s 100th birthday.
Ideum and Gensler’s Digital Experience Design (DXD) team collaborated on the creation of an illuminated and detailed S scale model, 1:64th of actual size, of the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team and where Jackie started as first base in 1947, Ebbets Field. Behind it, a digital wall was to act as the main media delivery tool to illustrate stories of Jackie’s career and activist work.
The Jackie Robinson Museum needed a digital wall to deliver the historical media for the Game Day exhibit. With Gensler’s design team they conceived of a faceted triptych of Unilumin USlimII panels that sat behind and wrapped around the Ebbets Field model. When the original estimate for mount and panel depth failed to take into account the added complexity and materials needed to join three displays at seamless angles, the wall overhung the soffit by 2” on either side. Ideum worked closely with Peerless-AV®, starting in March 2022, to deliver a design that met the client's vision while being mechanically robust. Peerless-AV manufactured the custom-engineered direct view LED (dvLED) mounting solution for Unilumin displays that would provide the stability required for this installation, and in a short timeframe.
“By bringing them in right at the start of this installation, the expert dvLED team at Peerless-AV were able to solve all the challenges this installation raised”, commented Senior Producer of Experience Engineering, Ideum, George Hardebeck. “Their end-to-end consultation minimized issues on site, and their willingness to support with such a quick turnaround, from design to fabrication then delivery, was very impressive.”
Ideum collaborated closely with Peerless-AV to make the three dvLED panels work successfully. Rather than opting for a curved solution, Peerless-AV designed and manufactured a SEAMLESS Bespoke dvLED Video Wall Mounting System to fit within the three-faceted walls; each panel joining at the center then fanning out at a 152° angle at the sides. What made this challenging was achieving a perfect corner in alignment with the wall structure and, therefore, spacing of the video wall was critical. To address this, Peerless-AV designed custom wall adaptors to fill in the void.
The custom spacers, along with the x, y and z axis adjustment, inherent in the Peerless-AV mount, provided the accuracy and micro-adjustment needed to overcome these installation irregularities and achieve the desired result with precision pixel alignment. Peerless-AV designed the mounting system to deflect no more than L/360, meaning the mount was extremely rigid with the maximum total it is able to flex is 1/8" over a 10' span. For added assurance, the design was reviewed, tested, and authorized by a professional engineer leaving the team feeling confident with the solution.
The finished video wall measures 7ft H x 30ft W, with 152-degree concave facets, to create a captivating visual experience for visitors of the museum and those walking by the museum's glass facade.
The displays used are Unilumin UslimII 1.5625 pitch, (500x1000mm), with 272 modules and a 17x2 configuration. The dvLED weight is 850lbs, while the mount is 1,150lbs, making the video wall solution weigh 2,000lbs in total. The resolution of the display is 5,440 x 1,280 with 6,963,200 pixels.
“The collaboration with the teams at Peerless-AV and Ideum demonstrated how teamwork can create a visual experience. We were all excited how the display came to life through the process," said Ryan Wilhelm, Midwest Senior Sales Director, Unilumin USA.
The installation began on July 4th with a three-week window to complete before the ribbon cutting ceremony on July 26th. Peerless-AV was enthusiastic about seeing the project through and committing to the short timeline. The team understood the impetus of this civil rights project and delivered the best solution, from custom product design to on-site installation consultation and support, that made the video wall display fit perfectly within the space.
During the installation process, there were 15 people at a time on site with representatives from each party. Team members from Unilumin and Peerless-AV were dedicated from start to finish, investing their time and efforts to complete their part of the project in only three days. Even after the work had been finished, the team provided full support through the installation of the Unilumin cabinets.
“Due to the thorough and meticulous problem-solving that took place once challenges were found, the mount was installed without any issues,” said Hardebeck. “The hanging of the dvLED panels was smooth and straight forward. When tough decisions had to be made to move forward with the limited time at hand, Peerless-AV were true to their craft. They were straight-talking, honest, and supportive, making them a trustworthy partner for this difficult installation.”
“I feel so proud of this project,” said Megan Zeller, Senior Director, Business Development at Peerless-AV. “All parties put an incredible amount of effort in not only collaborating to make this installation happen but to deliver a stunning centerpiece to such an important museum. The results, even on a tight timeline, prove our experienced and hardworking team at Peerless-AV is always up for the challenge.”
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of all parties involved, this installation was a rousing success. Only having three days on site to install and assist in any way possible, the team at Peerless-AV were able to fit within the tight timeframe to keep the entire installation on schedule.
Through the partnership between Ideum and Peerless-AV, the Jackie Robinson Museum provides attendees with a look into the life and history of Jackie Robinson, and offers a space for people to come together to appreciate each other’s humanity and diverse experiences. As the first civil rights museum in New York City, those who visit can learn of Jackie Robinson’s work in challenging the system of segregation that permeated American society during the 20th century. The video wall installation, a central media delivery tool for the museum, provides an immersive way for attendees to view snippets of Jackie’s career achievements.
“At the ribbon cutting on July 26th, hearing poignant words from Jackie Robinson wife, Rachel Robinson, who turned 100 just the week before, was very inspiring and being part of it all was hugely rewarding. The museum isn’t just a visitor attraction, but an educational hub and outreach center as well; remembering Jackie while continuing his work. Eric Adams, NYC Mayor, was also present at the ceremony. It was a memorable day,” said Hardebeck.
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