Maxo Vanka Murals: Interpretive Planning

Stakeholder-focused planning process to develop interpretive framework and resources for future growth // 2020-2022

Turnstile Studio produced an interpretive plan for the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka in the greater Pittsburgh area, which works to preserve and interpret historic murals inside an active Roman Catholic Church. The murals were painted by Croatian artist Maxo Vanka in 1937 and 1941 at St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, and they reflect contemporary struggles for social justice and the lived experience of the working-class Croatian community. The interpretive planning process involved engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including staff, volunteers, board members, visitors, scholars, congregants, and other community members in a collaborative and iterative process to develop the final plan, which included an interpretive framework guided by interpretive themes, outcomes, essential questions, and design principles; a theory of change and logic models to guide future program development and resource allocation; audience analysis and growth strategies; and comparative sites for learning and collaboration. Following the production of the interpretive plan, Turnstile was engaged to support its implementation, which involved budgeting and financial analysis, streamlining operational processes, and marketing efforts.

Colorful mural featuring the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus on her lap

Brooklyn Army Terminal 100th Anniversary Content Development

Historical Research and Archival Materials for Marketing and Placemaking // 2018

In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Turnstile Studio produced a comprehensive research document about the site’s history, along with archival photographs and other materials for use by the New York City Economic Development Corporation for marketing, education, and other materials. This package included dozens of high-resolution, public domain images of the Brooklyn Army Terminal and New York Port of Embarkation, an annotated timeline of key milestones in BAT history, facts and figures about BAT for use in social media and other marketing, and information specifically relating to manufacturing and industry from BAT’s history to draw past-present connections to current uses.

BAT Crane

Four Freedoms Park: Social Welfare & the City Field Trip

Research supporting educational field trips to Four Freedoms Park // 2016

Turnstile Studio was selected by the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy to conduct supporting research for an educational program focusing on the history of social welfare in New York City. Using the landscape visible from the park, located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in the East River, we identified a series of structures that typified different modes of housing to trace the history of housing for New Yorkers in need from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Research included examining primary and secondary source materials from local archives, including the New-York Historical Society, the New York City Municipal Archives, the New York Public Library, and the La Guardia and Wagner Archives at La Guardia Community College.

welfare island

Essex Street Market Infographic

Historical research to support creation of an infographic timeline // 2016

Drawing from original research that Turnstile Tours conducted to lead public tours of the Essex Street Market, Turnstile Studio was commissioned by the Essex Street Market Vendors Association to research, develop, and curate a historical content document to support the design and creation of an infographic that was installed inside the market in the fall of 2016. This research project included producing an annotated synopsis of the history of the Essex Street Market and New York City’s public market system, focusing on milestone moments, historical tidbits, and vendors’ stories, as well as providing suggestions for visual materials to feature in the infographic. Primary source materials were drawn from sources at the New York City Municipal Archives, New York City Department of Records, the Municipal Library, and the New York Public Library, as well as from online newspaper archives, including the New York Times, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and other newspapers.

Essex Street Market Infographic

BLDG 92 & Brooklyn Historical Society: Brooklyn Navy Yard STEM and Sustainability Research

Research and content development for STEM-based K–12 programs // 2014

Turnstile was commissioned by the Brooklyn Historical Society (now known as the Center for Brooklyn History at the Brooklyn Public Library) and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 to create a research document about STEM and sustainability-related topics, both historical and contemporary, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This research project was designed to be the content foundation for the development of STEM-based K-12 programs at the Yard.

Turnstile’s team focused on four main thematic areas for this project: sustainable architecture and design, landscape architecture and urban agriculture, water and waterfront management, and the industrial activities of companies in the Yard. Each theme explores how various concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math apply to real-world decisions that have an impact on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the people who work there everyday, and the communities that surround the industrial facility. To accomplish this, our team conducted historical research on the built and natural environment of the Yard, shipbuilding technology, and city infrastructure such as sewers and water that impact the Yard. We took an in-depth look at green building techniques, alternative energy, and the LEED rating system, as well as government policies and regulations relating to them. We also met with staff, tenants, and other stakeholders at the Yard in order to get an in-depth look at the Yard’s infrastructure and operations, and we profiled many of the companies and the advanced technologies that they utilize in their production.

The end result was a 170-page resource guide including narratives about each of these four topic areas, an extensive bibliography for further research, and images, maps, and other collateral that can be used in developing educational programs and materials. The document is also fully annotated with topics that correlate to Common Core and New York State Scope and Sequence standards so that it can be easily integrated into curriculum. Since the completion of this project, Turnstile’s team has led a number of training programs on these topics for Brooklyn Historical Society and BLDG 92 staff, as well as professional development workshops for teachers. This document has been used to create a school program for grades 3-12, “Seeing Green: Sustainable Building and Design.”