The First Americans Museum (FAM) of Oklahoma is the first of its kind as the only place in the United States where visitors can experience and learn our shared American history through the lens and collective stories of 39 Tribal Nations in Oklahoma today. Within a 175,000 square foot space located at 659 First Americans Boulevard in Oklahoma City, the museum takes visitors on an immersive and powerful storytelling experience of diversity, resilience, and culture through state-of-the-art exhibitions, artifacts, photography, live educational programs, discovery center, and a completely unique centerpiece curved direct view LED (dvLED) video wall.
In celebration of its launch in September 2021, the museum planned a week full of thrilling events, including a 45-minute fashion show that featured original content on the newly installed video wall in addition to performances from the Oklahoma City Ballet and nationally renowned poets and speakers.
Controversially challenging in both building and architectural aspects, the museum has been in the planning stages for over 20 years by the State of Oklahoma, the City of Oklahoma, and the tribal nations themselves. Initial discussions started in 2018 surrounding the construction of a giant, suspended, and curved dvLED video wall designed to wrap around the center of the museum. The objective was to create a gathering space for live music and performances that mimicked the center of a tribal village and allowed for “The Exchange of Ideas.”
IT design consultancy Waystone LLC was tasked with bringing the concept to reality, designing a video wall solution that was not only technically feasible but also pushed boundaries in terms of creativity. As the central point of contact for the museum, Waystone LLC hired Oklahoma City’s leading AV specialist, Ford Audio-Video Systems, LLC (Ford AV), to manage the AV portion of the project from start to finish.
The project’s uniquely shaped video wall made it essential for Ford AV to select a reliable mount manufacturer, with years of expertise in custom dvLED video wall solutions. Ford AV asked its long-standing partner of 20 years, Peerless-AV® for assistance in making the complex idea a reality. The design consultancy started in 2019 in cooperation with the team at Absen based on initial drawings for 192 Acclaim Series panels in a 6-degree concave design. Peerless-AV was contracted to design a custom fabricated mounting system that could accommodate the curvature of the wall and support the total video wall weight of 4,200 lbs.
“This most certainly was no straightforward rectangular video wall. The installation and engineering of the dvLED video wall was highly challenging, but the Peerless-AV team was optimistic and confident that they could do anything to make the mounting system work successfully,” said Courtney Myers, CEO of Waystone LLC. “By far the biggest concern was the curvature of the wall and the Peerless-AV team was instrumental in calculating the radius. The structure and weight of the video wall was also a challenge; three layers of ply were needed to make the curve which cantilevers out 6 feet from the wall, giving the effect of floating in the air.”
Peerless-AV was also selected based on its flexibility, cost-effectiveness, innovative engineering capabilities, and superior customer service – all aspects of SEAMLESS by Peerless-AV, the company’s dvLED Video Wall Integration Program. The program ensures the entire SEAMLESS dvLED Solutions Team is available every step of the way, guaranteeing every customer receives quality product support and service.
The physical installation started the first week of May 2021. The Peerless-AV SEAMLESS Bespoke dvLED mounting system, custom designed specifically for this project, offers compatibility and exclusive support for the 192 Absen Acclaim 2.5mm dvLED panels.
Absen Acclaim 2.5 Series is a 2.5mm pixel pitch dvLED solution that provides outstanding full HD/4K image quality, true 16:9 aspect ratio, easy serviceability, and high brightness for indoor dvLED video wall applications, such as this. The slim design sits less than 10cm to the wall when mounted, and the size of the panels made it a flexible choice for the creativity and complexity of the FAM installation.
From the moment the teams arrived on site, the process was painstakingly methodical and meticulous to calculate the necessary adjustment for the wall curvature required. The first step was to install a plywood backing to create a secure base for the dvLED. From there, the team utilized a detailed CAD drawing, precise measurements, and a curved template, ensuring they were taking all the necessary steps needed.
“The installation was a challenge from the very start. One slight misstep in the curvature would throw the entire structure off, so the adjustment and placement had to be exact at every single point,” said a spokesperson at Ford AV. “Thankfully, Peerless-AV’s mounting system offers adjustability. The combined efforts of Ford AV and Peerless-AV helped make this installation such a success.”
The installation exceeded the museum’s expectations, and the Peerless-AV team delivered the perfect mounting system for the unique wall. To the engineers that completed the project, the frame offered a certain magnificence on its own and they knew its presence would not go unnoticed. However, a custom trim kit accessory from Peerless-AV was added around the sides of the video wall to give it that immaculate, finished appearance and meet the visual expectations of the museum’s visitors.
The resulting, unique shape of the video wall is a visual delight, reflecting the character of the FAM and the playfulness of its designer, Courtney Myers. The inner rectangle space is visualized to be used as a place to put text or have animated characters popping in and out, tailored to the live performances planned to take place in front of this giant “backdrop.”
The content shared at the museum is fine-tuned to the video wall by internationally acclaimed New York media design company, Batwin + Robin Productions. Intelligent editing software provided by the company allows for content flexibility and creativity. Not only does this software allow the museum to quickly change content, but the museum can also utilize sections of the video wall to show different content, maximizing audience enthrallment.
FAM Director/CEO James Pepper Henry commented, “The giant dvLED video wall is more than we hoped for! Since our opening, the Xchange theatre, as it is now called, has become a popular venue for demonstrations, singing, storytelling, and fashion shows. The dvLED video wall adds a truly special element to shows and performances with original and inspiring motion backgrounds, and also provides a means to thank our patrons for their support in making FAM a reality.”