Sean Duran has clocked over 20 years as a museum art director, exhibition developer, and designer. He administers the planning and implementation of the Miami Science Museum’s exhibition and public program and oversees all exhibit development, production, and evaluation.
Museum’s are in Sean’s DNA. His dad was a staff taxidermist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and Sean has often felt a little off kilter if the smell of naphthalene is not wafting through a workspace. Earliest memories are of sawdust-covered museum-basement floors, stacked sauropod bones and the decayed Viking ship at the thoroughly old-school 1970’s era Carnegie.
Prior to joining Miami Sean worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia where he was the leader of content and design development teams for exhibitions and public programs that interpreted the research of the Academy’s Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution. These projects included the core development of significant permanent installations such as The Dig, 1994, and Butterflies, 1996; both were replicated by museums nationwide. Collaboration with artists is a key strategy of Sean’s work and in 1995 he worked with one of the best; veteran Warner Brothers cartoon director Chuck Jones to create an art and science exhibition, The Animated Animals of Chuck Jones.
Sean and Ray Troll have worked together a lot and have created some exceptional exhibitions including the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia’s presentation of Dancing to the Fossil Record, various incarnations of Sharkabet and most notably Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes and Other Riches. Under Sean’s leadership, the Miami Science Museum received from the National Science Foundation its most significant exhibition project grant to date. Sean produced the 2.3 million dollar effort toward a national touring exhibition that explored the biodiversity of the Amazon River system. It has so far traveled to 12 U.S. cities and will soon exceed a million visitors.
Other recent exhibitions include; The Dinosaurs of China, a 12 thousand square-foot collaborative effort with the Beijing Museum of Natural History; Charlie and Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure, a touring exhibit and research project about evolution with the New York Hall of Science and funded by N.S.F; and Heart Smart, a trilingual exhibition and research project in partnership with the University of Miami and funded by NIH SEPA. A particular focus of his work is multilingual communication in exhibitions and he has been instrumental in the development, testing and implementation of multi-language design protocols for all Miami Science Museum visitor-oriented projects. Sean’s attention is now turning to the growing momentum behind the construction and development of the new downtown Miami Science Museum, a 250,000 square-foot science museum and aquarium scheduled to replace the small aged, though well-loved museum in Coconut Grove.
He is a Board Member of the National Association of Museum Exhibitors and lives in Coconut Grove, Florida with his wife and daughter.
|Sean Duran on a museum mission to China, where he negotiated the loan of rare dinosaur bones to tour the USA.|
|Sean Duran, wiped out on, the back deck of the Victoria Amazonica, somewhere on the Amazon. Planning big exhibits can be a demanding task indeed!|
|Mr. Duran in my Ketchikan studio.|