How the Georgia Aquarium Made Waves During the Shutdown


What happens when an educational non-profit institution finds itself faced with a sudden total shutdown of society amidst a pandemic? Jerry Harris, Director of Audio Visual at the Georgia Aquarium joined the show to talk about how technology kept the aquarium afloat.

When the quarantine began, Jerry and his team were caught as unaware as everybody else. Suddenly, the aquarium wouldn’t have any visitors. “We had to pivot and go, ‘ok now the doors are going to close. What are we going to do? How are we going to stay relevant?” Jerry said.

The key was a digital approach to deliver the content to the visitors in their homes. A campaign of educational videos, virtual tours and social media brought the aquarium to kids and families wherever they were watching from. Not only did it work, but it turned out that digital content was exactly what people were craving.

Not only did this content keep people engaged, it also kept the Georgia Aquariumrelevant, and a strong social media presence kept potential visitors informed about any upcoming reopenings and events. Jerry was quick to note that they weren’t seeking relevancy for the sake of relevancy. “What the aquarium does in regards to taking care of animals, and even beyond just what we do in the facility, what we do abroad…whether it’s health assessments on dolphins or sea lions or what have you, we’re looking at ways of bringing that message to people,” he said.

Post-shutdown, Jerry and his team have put their digital audio skills to use in educating guests with digital signage about proper safety procedures and directing the use of strategically placed hand sanitizers. While the digital content continues to be a winner, Jerry is always looking forward to what’s next.

Join host Bryan Meszaros on Experience by Design every other Wednesday as he explores the latest trends and solutions helping craft the world’s most intriguing experiences.