Hickory Run State Park draws visitors from the local area and major East Coast cities with the marvels that nature and people have created. The park boasts clear-running streams, waterfalls, the largest flat field of boulders in the Appalachians, a rushing river, deeply wooded paths, CCC structures, and the remains of giant hand-stacked locks. As visitation grew, PA DCNR planned upgrades to its facilities, including a new Visitor Center.
The 106 Group, with our partner Blue Rhino Studio, was asked to create exhibits with a goal to inspire visitors to value these natural and historical landscapes and to get out and explore them. During pre-design workshops with park and other DCNR staff, one of the naturalists made the offhand comment that “Nature did this!” That simple idea became the central content, design, and experiential principle that drove all subsequent steps.
Installed in 2020, the exhibit hall features diverse life-size environments as the first view, inspiring gasps of wonder from the gallery’s entry doors. As visitors circulate through these dioramas, they find inspiring stories of nature and people behind each pod, delivered with poetry that opens up curiosity and amazement across generations.