Inside the Exhibits: Icebreaking Simulator

In the second half of 2018, SEARCH, Inc. and AldrichPears Associates worked diligently to flesh out concepts for the visitor experience at the future National Coast Guard Museum. Generated through the hard work of the Museum Exhibit Advisory Panel and the Museum Education Initiative, the ideas have transformed into sketches and well-researched outlines of what the exhibits in the museum may look like.

In December, the design team presented the 75% set of exhibit schematic designs to the Coast Guard and we are excited to share more detail of what one exhibit may entail. Many of you have likely seen the rendering of the Polar Research and Exploration Gallery, made possible by Lt. J.D. Power III, USCG.

Polar Gallery

One of the exciting exhibits planned for this gallery is an Icebreaking Simulator. The intention of this visitor experience is to show how the vessel’s crew uses different techniques to help facilitate breaking and moving the ice  to help guard against broken or brash ice from clogging a channel.

Visitors will learn the decision-making strategies employed by Coast Guard men and women like Master Chief Petty Officer Gregory Zerfass, a qualified ice pilot and command master chief aboard the Polar Star. MCPO Zerfass says, “The whole concept behind icebreaking is you have to have a place for the broken ice to go. To plan for this you have to think in advance, to consider all of the different ice movement scenarios during favorable conditions.”

Icebreaking Simulator sketch.jpg

An example of how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education will be integrated, participants will learn about the various ice cutting techniques an icebreaker makes including the herringbone cut, the scallop cut, the V cut and others. Visitors are then challenged to put their newly gained knowledge to use in the Icebreaking Simulator in which they match these techniques to keep ice from clogging a channel using a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) icebreaker model on a projected digital interactive screen.

“The proposed Icebreaking Simulator is a terrific example of how we hope to engage visitors by immersing them in the Coast Guard experience,” said Museum Association President CAPT. Wes Pulver, USCG (Ret.). “What feels like a game is actually an effective STEM lesson for learners of all ages.” 

The conceptual exhibits and sketches above are subject to change, and may or may not be used in the final exhibit design of the National Coast Guard Museum. The exhibit detail design is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

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