The Horse

The Horse

American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, 2008


“The Horse” examines the biology and cultural history of the horse. Introductory sections focus on its evolution and physiology, which made it exceptionally suitable for domestication. A cultural section examines artifacts from many cultures showcasing the horse’s long and productive relationship with humans.

The design aimed to bring a richness and depth to objects and interpretation without upstaging the artifacts themselves. In homage to cavalry flags and racing silks, section introductions and story panels were printed on satin banners, which brought sheen and movement to the show. Titling type is simple and monumental, in tribute to the scale of the animal itself. To modulate the surfaces, the designers evolved a library of textures referencing each set of artifacts or their cultures, from interlocking wagon wheels to Yakut textile patterns, and a rich earthy color scheme harmonized remarkably well with the objects.  

Juror Notes

This is a great example of a traditional big museum exhibition initiative. It is so nice, with beautiful artifacts and deep in content. It needs to be recognized for the absolutely professional execution and final impact of all the components. We are pleased it is going to be traveling internationally. 

Collections: AIGA 365: 30 (2009)
Discipline: Information design
Format: Exhibit


Design firm
American Museum of Natural History
Design director
David Harvey
Michael Meister
Assistant art directors
Tim Nissen, Mindy Weisberger
Exhibition designer
Lydia Romero
David Clinard (design)
Associate design directors
Stephanie Reyer, Catharine Weese
Kelvin Chiang, Brandon Huang, Elizabeth Anderson
Design manager
Dan Ownbey
Production manager
Caroline Seitz
Media producers
Sarah Galloway, Tiya Gordon, Lee Patrick
Hannah Readnour (Media Researcher), Yuri Zanow (Media Researcher)
Interactive designer
Harry Borrelli
Ana Camila Benitez-Martinez
Dee Dixon
Sasha Nemecek
Margaret Dornfeld, Martin Schwabacher
Project manager
Dina Langis
Denis Finnin, Roderick Mickens
Printing methods
Dye-sublimation, Digital C
Knockout, Chronicle
ColorEdge Visual