Calling All Nerds! New Sci-Fi Museum Wants Your Designs

Museum of science fiction
The Museum of Science Fiction is holding a competition for exhibit designs for a preview museum. (Image credit: Imarchination / Museum of Science Fiction)

If you've ever wanted to travel to the planet Arrakis, or you've made it a point to become fluent in Klingon, this may be a job for you.

The nonprofit Museum of Science Fiction plans to build a science fiction museum in Washington, D.C. The organization is now hosting a competition seeking the best exhibit design for a temporary preview museum, with a first-place prize of $1,000.

The final museum will feature works of science fiction in literature, television, film, music, video games and art, and will contain exhibits and collectibles across seven themes: the creators, vehicles, time travel concepts, aliens, computers, robots and technology, the organizers told Live Science previously. 

To be eligible for the competition, entrants must be students, architects, industrial designers or exhibit designers. Individuals or teams based in the U.S. or internationally may apply, and the deadline to register is 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT) on Oct. 31. Submissions will then be due by Nov. 30. [Science Fact or Fantasy? 20 Imaginary Worlds]

The preview museum aims to establish a presence in the nation's capital and to spark interest in the creation of a full-size museum, the organizers said. It would also raise money through fundraising events, while testing concepts for the full museum.

The preview space will consist of a set of interactive science fiction exhibits housed in a 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot (280 to 370 square meters) gallery, with a budget of $200 per square foot. Over the course of the preview museum's four-year life, the curators will rotate the exhibits on display. The museum design must be able to contain at least seven exhibits at a time, and have seating for 150 people for special programs and fundraising events, the organizers said.

Successful entries will be adaptable, the planners said. "Exhibit designs should emphasize the multi-use aspect of the space and creative ways to safely reconfigure the exhibits to provide open space for events, ideas for immersive and interactive environments, and ways to incorporate technology," the museum's website states.

The judges will be members of the museum's board of advisors, including author Louis Paul Miller, who serves as the museum's creative director, and the preview museum design team. Other judges have been invited to participate, and will be announced soon, according to the museum website.

The jury will notify the competition winner 15 days after the submission deadline. At that time, the winning team or individual may be asked to develop the design further and submit additional drawings, which may be used to promote the preview museum.

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Tanya Lewis
Staff Writer
Tanya was a staff writer for Live Science from 2013 to 2015, covering a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.