After serving millions of visitors as the California Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum accessed seismic retrofitting funds from the State and leveraged them into a multi-phase master plan for an entirely new facility. Previously a campus of unrelated buildings, the new California Science Center opened its centerpiece Phase I building in 1998. Barbara Punt was hired on staff in 1995 to manage the exhibit, signage and site specific artwork development and installation, which encompassed seven different firms from all over the country with fabrication throughout the United States, India, and Italy, as well as oversee the selection process, contract negotiation, and management of these exhibits and artworks. The exhibit and artwork budget was $18 million, with approximately $2 million in related costs to track for exhibit infrastructure costs. The project’s multiple funding sources required Barbara to develop a sophisticated tracking system to manage budgets for two different general contractors, a landscape architect and seven design firms and artists. The project was funded using both municipal and private sources, many of which were restricted funds which required periodic reports on sunk costs and future cash-flow estimates.
Upon the successful opening of Phase II, the Science Center promoted Barbara to Project Director for the Phase II expansion wing, a $140 million capital project. The focus of the expansion was a new gallery on ecology, as well as a 50,000 square foot office addition and retail component. The complex interplay of building requirements and exhibit types necessitated hiring and managing two teams of architects (one for the core and shell and one for the large aquarium tanks), two teams of exhibit designers to create terrestrial and aquatic animal exhibits, interactive and audio-visual exhibits, and a specialty landscape architect to design an open air rainforest. Barbara saw the project through final construction documents prior to the hiatus for fundraising. The final project was completed and opened to the public in 2010.
Barbara was a significant contributor to the success of Phase One of the California Science Center. She has extensive experience in project management, understands the interface between buildings and exhibits, pays attention to both the details and the big picture and is flexible and quick to pick up on things. It is a pleasure to work with Barbara.Jeffrey N. Rudolph PRESIDENT AND CEO, CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTER; FORMER BOARD CHAIR, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS; PAST PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF SCIENCE-TECHNOLOGY CENTERS