29 July 2013
University of the Sunshine Coast students are halfway through redesigning one of South Africa’s most popular and iconic museums dedicated to elephants.
It is the biggest work experience project that USC Design students have undertaken, involving years of research, design work and site visits to Kruger National Park for six high-achieving students so far.
USC Design and Marketing program leader Kevin Todd said USC had volunteered its assistance to overhaul the Letaba Elephant Hall, a 1980s-developed information and visitor attraction, to make best use of contemporary design techniques.
Mr Todd said USC had been working with SANParks (South African National Parks) to update the museum’s exhibits ranging from an elephant skeleton to conservation and cultural information to a showcase of the ivory of Kruger’s greatest “tuskers”.
“We’ve probably got another two years to go,” he said. “First, we’re physically producing new designs and branding for the faded, dated exhibition materials and merchandise such as T-shirts with logos.
“Then we’ll work on the interactive side, designing a virtual visit to the museum and education materials that can be downloaded by teachers across the world.”
Eight students are working on the Letaba Elephant Hall designs this semester.
“This project is very high profile and, when completed, will really boost USC’s reputation internationally,” Mr Todd said.
He and USC International Relations Projects Manager Dr Sheila Peake have both visited Kruger as part of this and other USC student and research-related projects.
Dr Peake said another two USC Design students were expected to go to South Africa at the end of this year followed by two more in 2014.
She said students gained valuable real-life experience working for a real client.
“Their results will eventually be seen by thousands of visitors to the museum, and many thousands more via the website,” she said.
Students travelled with funding provided by USC’s GO (Global Opportunities) program, which allows them to study overseas for part of their degree.
— Julie Schomberg