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© 2016 Split Rock Studios

 

 
 

INTERPRETIVE DESIGN & FABRICATION

 

 

We specialize in creating natural and cultural history exhibits for museums, interpretive centers, aquariums, zoos, and political institutions. From coast to

coast, our team of museum experts brings stories to life. Our clients trust and

enjoy our design process because it's collaborative, creative, and organized. 

WHO WE ARE

From exhibit designers and project managers in our front office to artists and woodworkers in our shop, Split Rock Studios brings together the full range of museum exhibit design and fabrication services under one roof.

 

What does that mean for you?

 

When designers and builders collaborate, you get more creative exhibit design. When you have one project manager through the entire process, you get exceptional attention to detail. When the same people who build your exhibits also install them, you get more efficient fabrication and installation.  

 

Under one roof means outstanding exhibits and satisfied clients.

DESIGN

  •  Planning & Development 

  •  Exhibit Schematic Design 

  •  Design Development 

  •  Writing & Editing

  •  Interpretive Graphic Design

  •  Interactives & Multimedia

  •  Project Management 

  •  Cost Analysis & Detailing

&

BUILD

  •  Thematic Environments 

  •  Dioramas 

  •  Hand-Painted Murals 

  •  Human & Animal Sculpture 

  •  Outdoor Interpretive Graphics 

  •  Custom Exhibit Furniture 

  •  Artifact Cases & Mount Making

  •  Multimedia & Interactive Elements 

  •  Delivery & Installation 

 
 

OUR WORK

Our award-winning exhibits bring your story to life. Interactives, graphics, and artifacts inspire your visitors to discover the natural and cultural world around them and continue learning after their visit.

Get a look behind-the-scenes, see more projects, read news, and more on our blog.

CULTURAL HISTORY

NATURAL HISTORY

BUILD ONLY

 

Our collaborative process incorporates your voice every step of the way. The end product is exhibits that wow visitors and exceed client expectations.

OUR 

CLIENTS

"I have already recommended Split Rock to others in my field who are looking to add to or expand their exhibits. We had a truly wonderful experience working with everyone at Split Rock. Everyone is so creative, has lots of energy and a fun sense of humor. Keep up the amazing work you do!"

 

– Margaret Gazdacka, Facility Supervisor & Naturalist at Red Oak Nature Center

AWARD WINNING EXHIBITS

We have built an exceptional reputation within the museum and interpretive community for high quality exhibitions. We are active in both the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) and American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Our team presents at national conferences each year to keep up with emerging trends and new exhibits being developed around the country. 

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OUR TEAM

Split Rock Studios brings together the full range of exhibit design and fabrication services under one roof. Our experienced teams can design, write, build, sculpt, and paint anything you can dream up!

Craig Sommerville
Founder & Advisor

Working on museum projects since 1976, Craig co-founded Split Rock Studios (formerly Deaton Museum Services) in 2000. Craig has conducted numerous seminars throughout the country on exhibit development.
Chris Wilson
Founder & Design Advisor

Chris is a story-driven designer. He ensures that an exhibition is authentic, engaging, and powerful. His gift for giving 3D form to abstract interpretive ideas flows from his experience with countless natural and cultural history centers, as well as his own avid interests in history, geology, archaeology, and the outdoors.
Isaiah Boehlert
President & General Manager

Using his background in project management, Isaiah applies his sound judgment and straightforward manner to daily operations at SRS. From production schedules to strategic decision-making, Isaiah ensures smooth sailing for clients and the company’s future.
Bee Vang
Vice President of Finance & Human Relations

Bee handles all accounting, invoicing, and human resources needs at SRS. Wearing multiple hats keeps Bee on her toes, but she always enjoys seeing the finished products and serving our clients.
Kelly Costello
Office Assistant

Keeping the office in shape with her managerial skills, Kelly brings a smile to people every day with her helpfulness and cheer. With an arts degree she understands a variety of roles and delivers constructive solutions and assistance as needed.
James Tordoff
Business Development

James grew up exploring and enjoying the vibrant Twin Cities museum community. His grandfather was the director of the Bell Museum of Natural History, inspiring James to pursue a career in exhibitry. With a degree from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, he brings excellent insight into our processes. He is an effective communicator who ensures every institution's voice is heard and their mission supported.
Colin Cook
Business Development

After 10 years at SRS, Colin has experienced just about every side of exhibit design and production. As part of Business Development, Colin uses his expertise in the exhibit design/build process to help clients move forward with their projects, contract for needed services, and select the best team possible to make a client’s dream a reality.
John Gunning
East Coast Office
Carrie Paulsen
Project Manager

Carrie’s detail-oriented project management skills keep projects on time and on budget. She carefully plans schedules for each project and keeps clients informed every step of the way.
Emma Field
Project Manager

With a degree in Art and Business, Emma brings unique insights to the SRS project management team. She is able to effectively guide clients through the creative development and fabrication process, ensuring clear communication and collaboration.
Niki Murray
Project Manager

Niki is collaborative, concise, and the guiding member of your project team. With a partnership-focused approach, she keeps all team members on the same page from day one. Throughout the design, fabrication, and installation processes, Niki will be your advocate, ensuring that Split Rock's decisions prioritize your objectives, your budget, and your timeline above all else.
Mike Otis
Project Manager

Mike is approachable, attentive, and staggeringly solution-focused. As the manager of your project team, Mike uses his extensive experience in commercial construction to stay light-years ahead of unforeseen setbacks involved in the design-to-build process, allowing your team (and ours) to stay inspired and on track. Driven by curiosity, Mike will be your comic relief, your confidante, and your advocate from kickoff to grand opening.
Erick Hudson
Estimator

Erick's background in exhibit production and installation helps him develop practical and accurate budgets and estimates. He collaborates closely with the design and fabrication teams to ensure his estimates are reliable and consistent.
Craig Fernholz
Purchasing/Estimator

With a background deeply rooted in theater, Craig makes sure our exhibits, and the company, are outfitted with the right pieces, parts and details to make them shine.
Margaret Lee
Design Manager / Exhibit Developer

Margaret provides big picture thinking for the design department on everything from design process to communication with clients to staffing levels. She serves as an advocate for exceptional design that offers transformative experiences for visitors of all ages. With a PhD in History and extensive experience in interpretation and education, Margaret fosters visitor connections in every project.
Sarah Bartlett
Sr. Exhibit Developer

Sarah crafts storylines that integrate text, graphics, and artifacts into a unified exhibit. From start to finish, she is the visitor's advocate. Her work has contributed to four national awards for exhibit excellence. Sarah goes above and beyond by writing articles for the National Association for Museum Exhibition and speaking at American Alliance of Museums conferences.
Amanda DeGigidio
Exhibit Developer

Amanda is a dynamic content developer with a unique background in cultural resource management and education research. Her approach is informed by over a decade of experience helping both schools and museums find the ideal balance of learning and fun. Amanda is a skilled writer, able to develop imaginative narratives that help guide visitors of all ages.
John Vanek
Exhibit Developer

John is a naturally curious person who knows how to find the thought-provoking core of any subject. With a unique background in exhibit development and genealogy, he understands how important it is for visitors to connect personally with exhibit content. An experienced writer, he is dedicated to producing clear, accurate, and engaging stories.
Kate Sutton-Johnson
Creative Director/Exhibit Designer

Kate brings a sense of wonder to her exhibit designs, imagining what a visitor entering spaces will think, feel, and experience. With this grounding, Kate brings stories to life with awe-inspiring and relevant design aesthetics that transport visitors to another time and place.
Amanda Wambach
Exhibit Designer

Amanda loves the challenge of bringing together content and design to create memorable visitor experiences. She approaches exhibits as holistic spaces, designing immersive experiences that delight and inspire visitors of all ages. Amanda brings a passion for collaborative work to all her projects, bridging content, design, and fabrication.
Cathan Murray
Exhibit Designer

Cathan brings his wide experience in furniture building, 3D design, and AV development to each and every project. After a decade working in trade shows, Cathan relishes designing permanent, impactful exhibits for nature centers and museums. He excels in dreaming up the impossible and making it reality.
Christopher Heilman
Exhibit Designer

As a designer, Christopher translates conceptual ideas into three-dimensional space. With a background in designing for theater, film and themed entertainment, he is always thinking about and considering the viewer’s experience. He has as a hunger for authentic storytelling and is particularly excited by the intersection of design and technology as a means of enhancing meaningful human connection.
Michael Nelson
Sr. Graphic Designer

With over two decades of experience as a graphic designer, Michael can catch a visitor’s attention and draw them in to experience the exhibition’s storylines. His graphic approach is attentive to the building, text, and 3D design of the exhibits.
Steffany Schmit
Graphic Designer

Stef brings enthusiasm and attention to detail to the graphic design process. She carefully identifies graphic color schemes and organizes graphics spatially with a logical flow. The character of the exhibition leads her towards the fonts, colors, and shapes to best convey storylines and complement exhibit experiences.
Nan Hildebrandt
Graphic Designer

With more than 20 years of experience, Nan is a multidisciplinary designer who integrates graphics into the overall exhibit message to impact visitors. She uses her award-winning skills to create graphics that are visually appealing, organized, and seamlessly guide visitors through exhibit stories.
Alex Ostman
Graphic Designer

Alex has a passion for graphic design, from creating large photomurals and interpretive graphics to selecting just the right image and color scheme. Working closely with clients, he uses this passion to produce stunning graphics that engage and inspire visitors.
David Radtke
Sr. CAD Detailer

David joined SRS in 2011 as a CAD Detailer. Using AutoCAD, he works with designers, project managers, builders, and artists to produce detailed drawings that guide the production of exhibit elements. He creates CNC programs for the wide variety of exhibit furniture we create.
Eric Gebhard
CAD Detailer

With extensive engineering and production experience, Eric brings a passion for exhibit fabrication to each project. Collaborating with the design and fabrication teams at SRS, Eric uses his CAD skills to bring exhibit designs to reality.
Scott Sprehn
CAD Detailer

Scott brings 15 years of CAD experience to SRS, where he transforms design documents into construction drawings for our shop. With a background in engineering and theater, Scott relishes using his talents to have an impact on exhibit visitors across the country.
Don Tessier
Shop Foreman

Don provides the critical link between the exhibit design team and the fabrication team. He oversees 12 woodshop and metal workers. Each day Don ensures that the necessary builders and resources are assigned to each project, that builders have the drawings and materials needed, and he constantly monitors quality of construction.
Terry Hagen
Art Fabrication Manager

As our Art Fabrication Manager, Terry brings organization, ingenuity, and efficiency to our studio. He is a talented problem-solver and effective communicator. Terry's experience creating large-scale sculpture has advanced our methodology for sculpting and painting.
Blaine Haunsperger
Artist

In 1974, Blaine began fabricating dioramas, murals, and sculptures at Deaton Museum Services (now SRS). Today his impressive talents continue to bring design intent to life through sculptural elements and hand-painted murals. Blaine's attention to detail on every component is unprecedented.
Paul Chamberlain
Artist

For two decades Paul has worked as a scenic artist, specializing in foam carving, painting, and design. He is experienced in a variety of materials and can easily handle both large- and small-scale sculpture. Paul's work brings a delightful artistry and careful accuracy to each project.
Blake Haunsperger
Artist

Blake's enthusiasm and commitment to excellence brings fresh innovation to our studio. The grandson of exhibit sculptor Neal Deaton, he has a great appreciation for classic exhibit elements as well as talent in creating models and dioramas.
Mark Arend
Artist

Mark specializes in sculpting models and creating the custom molds we use throughout our exhibits. His attention to detail and ability to work with delicate objects are critical skills when projects require scale models and specialized artifact mounting.
Michael Hornes
Artist

Michael brings his artistic eye to every detail of art fabrication. With decades of painting and sculpting experience, he enjoys using his creativity and skills to bring exhibits to life.
James Lamis
Artist

For over two decades, James has been bringing dioramas and sculpture to life in exhibits. For each project, James dives into the subject to understand what he is recreating so he can help visitors learn about their environment through realistic exhibit experiences.
Khoa Tieu
Artist

A sculptor and faux finisher, Khoa has an exceptional eye for creating realism. With his attention to detail in every brush stroke, along with his airbrush skills, Khoa’s work is amazingly life-like.
Patrick Daniels
Artist

Patrick is an inspired artist and born storyteller. He thrives on the variation of work exhibit fabrication affords him, and enjoys working with his hands to bring clients’ stories to life.
Chris Merkl
Artist

Chris brings two decades of airbrush skills and a keen eye to sculpture and faux finishing to Split Rock Studios. His enthusiasm and innovate out-of-the-box thinking makes Chris to be great team member on big sculptures.
Matt Carlson
Metals

Matt connects the art fabrication department and woodshop with metalwork. His complex structures become the critical armature for many high-detail sculptural elements as well as support for many structural components.
Teng Thao
Fabrication Assistant

Teng is a jack of all trades in the SRS shop. From metal cutting to machining to prepping components for finishing, Teng touches almost every project at some point during its fabrication.
Lynn Morgan
Finish/Paint

As our painter and finisher, Lynn places the final touch on every piece that moves through our woodshop. Her attention to detail and organizational skills are the perfect fit for this critical position.
Jerald Richardson
Builder

Jerry is an experienced and masterful woodworker. His detail-oriented approach is key to quality control in our shop, and his thoughtful craftsmanship produces exceptional cabinetry.
John Daugs
Builder

John is able to construct many of our most complex pieces. He carefully plans the most effective construction methods and quality materials. John communicates easily with clients and puts them at ease throughout the installation process.
Mike Specht
Builder

Mike excels at creating components in coordination with woodworkers and artists. Together they bring to life accurate, durable, and classic dioramas and sculptural elements.
Mike Rutz
Builder

With more than 15 years of cabinetry experience, Mike builds superb exhibit components and relishes seeing the finished product—installed exhibits enjoyed by visitors. He continually develops new skills, looking for innovative ways to make bomb-proof exhibits.
Mark Jedlenski
Builder

Mark is a talented communicator and planner. Clients enjoy working with him throughout exhibit installation. As a lead builder, he works closely with the designer and shop foreman to make informed decisions during the fabrication process.
Nick Stoor
Builder

Nick takes ownership over each component he creates and installs. He frequently consults with the design staff to ensure his work aligns with the creative intent.
Rick Krantz
Builder

Rick is a thoughtful builder who enjoys the challenges of museum exhibitions. His efficient work ensures our shop is productive, and his problem-solving skills and attention to detail combine for outstanding and durable exhibits.
Jodi Larson
Builder

From a childhood passion for exhibits, Jodi was drawn to exhibit fabrication where she uses her craftsmanship to produce exceptional finished products. Jodi puts a love of tinkering to work every day as she creatively solves construction challenges.
Ethan O'Donnell
Builder

Ethan brings his exceptional carpentry skills to each project at SRS. His expertise allows him to tackle challenges and problem-solve through one-of-a-kind cabinetry and woodworking components.
Anthony Gonzalez
Builder

Tradeshows, cabinetry, retail, remodeling, exhibits—Anthony has done it all. This diverse background serves him well at SRS, where he crafts exhibit components and knows that a job is done well by the looks on clients’ faces when they see the finished product.
Mark Riehle
Builder

At SRS, Mark brings together his background in art and cabinetry to build custom exhibit components that captivate visitors. Inspired by working with a talented crew of craftspeople and artists, Mark enjoys seeing projects grow from concept to completion.
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Our team also includes the Dogs of Split Rock

 
 

GET IN TOUCH

Tell us about your project and how we can help!

Sommerville-Wilson, Inc. dba Split Rock Studios

2071 Gateway Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55112

 


 

info@splitrockstudios.com

651.631.2211

 


 

 

 Want to work with us? View our current job openings here

 
John Gunning

East Coast Office