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Boss Display: The Water Table

Have you ever wondered where we get the incredible hands-on exhibits that will fill the galleries in the new building? Teams of exhibit developers design and create each experience. We are highlighting some of these developers and sharing the process of making an idea become an interactive exhibit for our galleries. In addition, we will look at the education and career paths of some of these talented individuals.


Boss Display: The Water Table

One of the most anticipated exhibits in the new North Dakota’s Gateway to Science building is the interactive water table. The 22-foot table features three height levels with ten hands-on activities including such as a dam and turbine, boat lock, build-a-pipe, vortex and laminar launcher, and more.

Boss Display, located in Columbus OH, created the water table. In 1934, Carl E. Boss founded the company, designing and constructing window backgrounds, cabinets, shelving, counters, and other fixtures. Over 85 years later, Boss Display designs, develops, and builds custom interactive exhibits for clients around the world. Through creativity, innovation, and reliability the company has become a leader in its industry.

Project Manager Steven Walker explained the process of developing the Gateway to Science water table. “Members of our sales and design team worked with the NDGTS team to develop a preliminary design concept for the interactives of the table. As project manager, I worked with the NDGTS team and our engineering team to determine the finer details of each feature until we reached an approved final exhibit.”

“We chose Boss because they were highly recommended by other science centers and children’s museums,” explained Kim Eslinger, Gateway to Science Gallery & Exhibits Director.

“They were happy to work with us to customize our water table so that it would be uniquely ours. This included modifying the water cycle structure to match the North Dakota landscape,” Kim shared. “When the structure was first presented to us, it included mountains. After looking at photos of the badlands and rolling hills that are typically found in our state, the designers at Boss Display took that information and made a structure that I think people will recognize as being part of our North Dakota landscape.”

The project went smoothly from beginning to end. “As this was an in-house design and we were able to work directly with Kim and team, we had a fairly straight forward and easy development and engineering stage of the project. There were no major challenges that tripped us up,” noted Steven. “It was a full team effort within Boss Display, with Carson Long, our designer, being an integral part of the design-planning period.”

Career exploration is an important part of Gateway to Science’s gallery exhibits and programming. We asked Steven about the educational backgrounds and career paths of Boss Display staff members. “Team members at Boss Display have many varied backgrounds in education from architecture, mechanical and electrical engineering, fine arts, and industrial design,” he explained. “Our current owners, David Foster, Evan Trickey, and David Murphy all worked with the previous owner for many years as project managers before purchasing the company when he retired, helping to turn Boss Display into what it is today.”

If you are curious about the water table and want to get a sneak peek at it, click HERE for a video of it in action. We can’t wait to see it in action at North Dakota’s Gateway to Science!