Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Graphic design for exhibits at the visitor center of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historical Site in Pennsylvania. The exhibits were designed to create large immersive spaces in the visitor center and reuse as many existing models and artifacts as possible. Graphically, the designs are based primarily on the style and printing processes used when the historic railroad was in use, during the early- and mid-1800s.

This project was done as part of the EDX Exhibits design team.

Photo courtesy of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site.

Four historic models of boats and train cars sit in front of a large wall mural.

An immersive canal boat sat at the center of the exhibits to anchor the story. The graphics for the boat are designed to be small but stand out from the canal boat setting.

Canal boat photo courtesy of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site.

A large scale canal boat called the Summit Queen that visitors can enter

Small red panel with canal boat illustration.

I created a map of Pennsylvania, showing the context of the railroad, which we repeated throughout the exhibits so that visitors could use it as they oriented themselves to the story.
Although there aren't many historic photos of the railroad itself, we were able to use some wonderful photos like this one to help set the scene.

Panel showing map with railroad.

We used reading rails and existing illustrations as additional opportunities to pull in the bright colors that were present in the scale models.

The illustrations throughout the exhibits had been done by a local artist, Steve Patricia, for the previous iteration of the visitor center exhibits. I was so happy to find places to refresh them and include them in our new design.

Reading rail with illustration of a train engine.