“Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination” – Getting Started

It all began with a telephone call.

Peter Overstreet, Creative Director and President of Aeronaut Productions, was just finally settling down from a busy stint of exhibit graphic design on his fist museum gig (NASA-A Human Adventure in Stockholm, Sweden), when he received a telephone call. A friend of Pete’s had been contacted to produce a new exhibit for The Muzeo, in Anaheim, CA, with the theme of “Steampunk” as the focus. Pete’s friend was unable to work on the project, but suggested to The Muzeo that Peter might be willing and able to tackle the job. After some phone calls, and some emails, Peter began the journey towards making this new exhibit a reality.

This was going to be a challenge. There was next to no money to fund the project…less than a year to design, complete, assemble and open the exhibit…AND this would be Aeronaut Productions’ FIRST solo endeavor! Could they do it?

Firstly – he needed a team. He assembled a small group of individuals whom he worked with in the past (with the intention of calling upon more as he needed them). The first person on board was Pete’s wife Cat Taylor-Overstreet. Her skills in event co-ordination, bookkeeping, and especially as Entertainment Director for the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco, would prove invaluable.

Next, Pete and Cat began to hammer out a proposal document for The Muzeo, to be presented to the museum within 48 hours of their initial conversation! With a mad dash of writing, financial calculations, and graphic design, Aeronaut Productions had the document ready to go and they were on their way on a mad dash to Anaheim, CA. After a successful meeting with the Muzeo’s exhibits manager, Cat and Peter blew off a little steam at Disneyland.

The next stage was “artifact recruitment” and crafting the Sponsorship Document (where we go into further details about what the exhibit will contain). We also started to recruit members into the Aeronaut team. After we had assembled a tight little team of seven dedicated individuals, we began emailing and calling various craftspeople regarding their amazing contributions to the Steampunk genre – and starting to build up a nice collection of artifacts for the exhibit. One of our stops on this leg of the journey was The Maker Faire in San Mateo, Ca. While there we met with the League of S.T.E.A.M., who graciously offered to participate in the event!

During the creation of the Sponsorship Document, the Aeronaut team realized that they were still missing a crucial component to the show – a “crown jewel” so to speak. During Pete’s design process, he envisioned the exhibit to feature a full-scale replica of The Time Machine (from the 1960 movie of the same name). With some investigations, Pete found 5 replicas and THE genuine article (owned by Bob Burns). All of them graciously passed on the opportunity to participate in the show for various reasons. Finally, Pete, and Areonaut crew member Rich Medley, discovered Mr. Robert Niosi who has been crafting an amazing replica. Niosi’s machine has been in production for 9 years, and is now nearing completion! After an exciting phone chat, Niosi agreed to finish and unveil his creation at the exhibit! Check out this article about Rob Niosi’s amazing “Rolls Royce of Time Machines”!

Meanwhile, Pete was still cranking away at the Sponsorship Document – including rendering the galleries in MAYA both as a visual and as a construction aid.

There was also a round of educational and historical discussions within the Aeronaut team, in which a timeline of the “Age of Steam” was outlined on scrap paper and a rather large sheet of foam core. After two weeks of long hours and technical complications – the document was finished.

The Muzeo, eager to see what Aeronaut’s crew had been working on, agreed to meet with the management staff and allow some of the crew to measure the building in which the exhibit would be housed. Once again, the Aeronaut Productions blue PT Cruiser was spotted jetting down Interstate Highway 5, from San Francisco to Anaheim, in the hopes that an agreement could be made.

While Aeronauts Rich Medley and Joel Browning explored and measured every conceivable inch of what was once the Anaheim public library (now a display gallery for The Muzeo), Cat Taylor and Pete Overstreet met with the Muzeo team. The lengthy discussions brought both organizations to an accord and “Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination” was begun.

There is a great deal of work to be done, to be sure. But both Aeronaut and Muzeo are confident that this one-of-a-kind exhibit will delight, entertain and enlighten visitors!

We invite you to follow us on this incredible journey to make the impossible possible, where seven people have chosen to follow a dream and make it come true!

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~ by Peter Overstreet on June 27, 2011.

One Response to ““Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination” – Getting Started”

  1. Looking pretty snazzy, darlings! Our team cleans up good. 🙂

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