Mt. St. Helens: Johnston Ridge Observatory


The Mt. St. Helens Institute and U.S. Forest Service were looking for new, relevant experiences for the Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO), the world famous site overlooking the volcano's crater and pumice field. Exhibits at the observatory were overdue to be updated and refreshed.


Create exhibits that interpret the ever-evolving landscape of this active volcano and provide a rich visitor experience that showcases the instruments used by scientists to study the volcano.

Custom Exhibits

This joint privately and federally funded project provided greatly needed updates to the exhibits at JRO. OMSI created a set of low-maintenance interactives and built them into the interior of the building. Updated features included the presentation of seismographic data in modern digital format, interpretation of the other methods that geologists use to predict earthquakes, and a new photographic mural of the crater and newly formed domes.


As it is the museum's practice to pair with scientists to interpret current research, OMSI worked closely with Forest Service and Geologic Survey personell throughout the project. Such collaboration kept the project focused on essential messages and let expert volcanologists shape the educational content, offering valuable insight for the design of visitor centers and other interpretive sites.


OMSI designed this exhibition to be educational, fun and durable. With the crater of Mt. St. Helens as a gorgeous backdrop, the exhibits were designed to integrate with the interior of JRO and the dramatic landscape. Interactives were designed to include historic artifacts, scientific data and geologic specimens while encouraging play and discovery.