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Camp Vernacular Animates Science in the Adirondacks

The Wild Center Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks
Tupper Lake, New York, USA

The Wild Center is a non collections-based museum of natural history that tells stories using living exhibits and media-rich environments.

Featuring vibrant text and graphics, the exhibits allow for a quick, top-level understanding of issues as well as in-depth learning. The information is presented through living environments and interactive experiences that have expanded average visitor dwell times to over three hours.

HOK master planned the site and designed the facility and interior exhibits to work within the choreography of the visitor’s experience. The design for the exhibits informed and shaped the building’s form, which is an expression and celebration of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains.

Collaborating with the museum’s directors, HOK’s Experience Design team created a museum that cultivates a broader public understanding of the natural systems that shape and sustain life in Adirondack State Park. Larger than the state of Massachusetts, the 6-million-acre park is unique for its diverse ecological composition, natural events and glacial formations. It’s also a sociopolitical model showcasing how humans and nature can coexist in a place once threatened by human activity.

The Wild Center, which received LEED Silver certification, was the first LEED-certified museum in the state of New York.


10,000 sq. ft. / 930 sq. m.


Exhibit Design
Graphic Design
Landscape Architecture