Museum Insider

All Systems Go for Space Odyssey Reimagined

Our most popular permanent exhibition reopens with an all new experience

In retrospect, it feels like an out of this world feat. At press time, “Space Odyssey” is within days of reopening after a complete renovation, and members will have the opportunity for a first look.  

We wanted to give you an inside look into the amazing team that kept the project on schedule  in spite of the usual challenges of renovating a decades-old space, coupled with the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic.  

We’re pleased to introduce you to the team and can’t wait to welcome you into the new experience! 

Jodi Schoemer

Director of Experiences & Partnerships and Space Odyssey Reimagined Project Leader  

What was your proudest moment during the project? 

I loved the way our community engaged with us to tell us what they wanted and liked. Their ideas led to new ideas that were a bold departure for us, such as the Fantasy Spaceship where science imagination runs wild. I’m also extremely proud of our team. With all of the challenges between March and now that hundreds of people have had to overcome to make this happen in a COVID-19 world, our incredible team brought everything together on schedule. 

What do you hope guests will take away after experiencing the new “Space Odyssey”?  

Our community told us they wanted deeper insight into how we know what we know about space.  I love this idea – in these challenging times, to reflect on how humanity working together, through our shared ingenuity, has managed to figure out so much about places so distant and strange in our universe. We kept that as the focus of the experience, which allows guests to explore how we know so much about things so far away.  

Kaela Martin

Space Odyssey Reimagined Project Manager 

What has been the biggest challenge with the project?

I was going to say COVID-19, but that’s not even true. Lighting is challenging because there were so many people involved and we wanted to make sure we got it right. It’s amazing how much lighting plays into the exhibition experience. 

How many times did you revise the construction schedule? 

I never revised the schedule. Since August 2019, we have kept the same schedule. Even with COVID-19 throwing us a curveball, we kept our major milestones the same.   

What do you hope people will take away from the new design?

Exploring space science is so fun! You can run around and get crazy and see a bunch of cool stuff. It’s really inspiring; it's fodder for imagination. 

Ellen Roth

Community Research & Engagement Strategies Supervisor and Space Odyssey Team Community Liaison 

What are you most proud of in terms of the experience development process?  

I’m really inspired by the way the community responded to this project. This was one of our first forays into engaging with the community for ideas on an exhibition. We’d create concepts based on those ideas, and then go back and truth check with community. I’m also proud of the way the Museum responded to the community feedback. In original topic testing, people really latched onto science fiction, which is not something the Museum has incorporated into any previous experiences. We leaned into that feedback and created the Fantasy Spaceship, where guests can imagine what it’s like to be at the helm of a galaxy-hopping adventure.   

What are you most excited about in the new experience? 

I mentioned it above, and I’m most excited for the Fantasy Spaceship because it’s new territory for us.  

Naomi Pequette

Program Specialist and Space Odyssey Reimagined Content Specialist 

What are you most proud of in terms of the experience development process?  

I’m proud of how we were able to meld what we heard from audiences with our own expertise in space science. We heard from the community that they really want to reflect on Earth. The Interstellar Home Finders live show is an example of what we created in response. It is whimsical and fun way to reflect on the uniqueness of Earth while exploring places in space that have potential for life as your next “vacation home.” 

What are you most excited about in the new experience?  

I’m really excited about the first section on Human Wonder. We wanted to elevate and respectfully present ways that cultures around the world have done astronomy for thousands of years. Former Curator of Archeology Chip Cowell was instrumental in connecting the project team with tribal elders. We did a lot of listening and going back and forth to ensure that wording, recordings, and animations of the stories told at the campfire were true to these cultures’ representations.  

Dr. Ka Chun Yu

Curator of Space Science and Space Odyssey Team Content Expert 

What are you most excited about in the new experience?  

I’m so excited for the storytelling aspect at the beginning involving the campfire setting. I hope that will trigger guests' imaginations and encourage them to think about what our ancestors thought of the night sky during a time before the internet, electricity, or even built homes. People were much more exposed to and aware of the sky long ago, which is why we have so many cultural stories of the sky and of constellations. I think that’s a neat concept to share in our technologically advanced, 21st century exhibit. 

What do you hope guests will take away from the new “Space Odyssey” experience? 

Similar to the original “Space Odyssey” – the idea that science is something that is always moving forward. It is not a static collection of knowledge or facts. And I hope people will keep coming back and see this as a place to continue learning throughout their lives.  

Mitchell Blystone

Exhibit Tech II and Space Odyssey Team Technology Project Manager 

How did you leverage technology in this new experience?     

The community feedback really supplied us with a path to think differently about our approach to what the Space Odyssey exhibit could be. The project team worked hard to be as fun and imaginative as possible, which pushed me to find the best technology to meet the community’s expectations. As a result, we’re using new software and hardware that hasn’t been used in the Museum before. 

Are there new tech applications in the experience that you’re excited to see guests interact with?     

I will admit that I am most proud of the work done behind the scenes. It is a difficult task to identify the trends in technology that allow us to future-proof the exhibit. Our underlying goal in our technology applications and designs is to supply the same great experience to guests visiting five years from now as the guests that visit on opening day.  

Jeff Joplin

Director of Facilities  

How did this project differ from other construction around the Museum?  

“Space Odyssey” touched almost every part of the Museum’s operation, requiring the project team to think holistically about how to accomplish the project. We relied heavily on each other’s areas of expertise and challenged ourselves to find the best way to create this exciting guest experience 

How did COVID-19 affect the project from your perspective?  

The start of construction for the project happened almost at the same time as COVID-19 caused shutdowns throughout our city and state. Fortunately, with construction deemed an essential service, the work on the project continued with adjustments for the changing safety requirements. An unintended benefit of the Museum closure was that contractors had full days of noisy demolition and material movement through the building, keeping the project on schedule during these challenging times.  Our construction team was even able to help out building some divider walls at local hospitals when COVID-19 first hit. 

Dr. Steve Lee also served as a space content expert, and retired earlier this year. Thank you for your knowledge and enthusiasm, Steve, and enjoy your retirement! 

Space Odyssey was made possible with support from many donors, including The Anschutz Foundation, Mark & Martha Freeman, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Lockheed Martin, Blair & Kristin Richardson, and M. Patrick & Jo Ann Swingle.  

Visit for more about the new experience. 

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