Independence Seaport Museum

River Alive

Children interacting with exhibit

Project Overview

The Independence Seaport Museum’s new cornerstone exhibit shares with visitors the science and beauty of the Delaware River Watershed. We partnered with Habitheque to create an experience that blurs the line between education and play—making it fun for kids to learn about the water right outside the museum’s walls.

Project Videos and Images


Our style guide for River Alive includes a hand-painted font, logo, and color palette that establishes a kid-friendly, approachable tone for the exhibit and its marketing materials.

Detailed animations and illustrations allow for visitors to experience the watershed through interactive experiences.

Restoring a Watershed

Using interactive sensors, visitors blow, spin, and drum to clean the digital waters of a 32-foot long projection of the watershed—and meet the friendly creatures that call it home along the way.

A visitor uses a physiodigital sensor to interact with a simulation.

The contoured wall with its projection of the river greets visitors when they enter the exhibit.

  • Interactive displays help to make content easier to understand for all age groups.

  • Animations of key parts of watershed wildlife

Physiodigital sensors allow visitors to interact with the environment

Sensors designed and fabricated by Creative Machines

  • Visitors use sensors to learn through play.

  • Animated characters dance to custom music and colorful lights in Party Mode, visitors’ reward for cleaning the whole river.

    Animated characters dance to custom music and colorful lights in Party Mode, visitors’ reward for cleaning the whole river.

Using Data to Understand and Improve a River's Health

A multi-user touchscreen teaches kids about the science behind the river’s health with engaging activities and interactive animations.

Visitors use touch to interactively learn about the environment.

  • A visitor interacts with a large touchscreen.

  • A animation displaying the effects of human pollution on the environment and the watershed specifically.

Mapping a River's History

Set into a larger map of the watershed, a touchscreen takes visitors on a deep dive into the river’s history.

Visitors learn about the watershed through interactive games and activities.

  • Visitors learn about the watershed with a creative twist.
  • A visitor interacts with an animation displaying information about the watershed and its significance.

Personalizing Connection to River Life

Our personality quiz builds connection and commitment to the watershed by matching visitors with their “River Hero” and related local organizations.

A young visitor learns about watershed wildlife through a interactive display.

  • Animations bring key watershed ecosystem features to life.

  • Familiar river characters reappear in the quiz's animations.

    Familiar river characters reappear in the quiz’s animations.

A Visual Ecosystem

Our custom font, illustrated animals, and colorful photographs balance scientific content to set a playful yet educational tone for the exhibit.

The exhibit was designed with close help from Habithèque, River Alive's exhibit designer.

We worked closely with Habithèque, River Alive’s exhibit designer.

The fonts and styles used in the museum were redesigned as part of the project.
  • A large wall that uses illustrations to teach visitors about the watershed.
  • An example of the updated font and style used in the museum.
A wall displaying the heroes of the river highway.
  • Costumes created by artist Lexy Ho-Tai representing land, water, and sky.

    Costumes by artist Lexy Ho-Tai

  • Detailed animations found throughout the museum provide a in-depth look at the inner workings of the watershed and its uses.
Visitors interact with a puzzle activity inside of the museum.
  • A visitor uses an interactive table to learn more about the Delaware River.
  • A visitor and a child learn more about the watershed together.