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Last updateThu, 24 Sep 2020 6am
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Darwin exhibition tours Spain and Draws in visitors with attractive, Durable Displays

Over 150 years ago, on November 24th, 1859, Charles Darwin published his theories „On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life." By the sixth edition the name had shed its verbosity and evolved into the abbreviated (and somewhat catchier) title, „The Origin of Species." Not only is 2009 the anniversary of the publication of this monumental work, it also marks 200 years since Darwin's birth, and to celebrate, the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (Tarragona, Spain) has launched two educational exhibitions, one in Spanish and one in Catalan, featuring attractive graphical displays that invite visitors to trace the English naturalist's life and learn more about the theory of evolution.

The Institute outsourced production of the displays - 16 back-lit panels, each measuring 2.45 x 3 m (8 x 10 ft, approx.) - which were printed on an HP Designjet L65500 Printer. The shows welcome banners were done on the brand new HP Designjet L25500 Printer, while three HP TouchSmart PCs in the exhibition halls complemented the printed displays with an online presentation.
Photographers impressed with print quality
Luís Batista, Educational Director at the Institute, oversees public education programmes supporting the Institute's research and excavations - those for example at Atapuerca in the north of Spain, where fossilized remnants of the earliest known hominoid in western Europe have been found. „The photographers at the Institute are very demanding and critical," said Batista, „yet they were amazed at the fine detail and high colour definition of the exhibitions' displays. They didn't know that a printer outputting such large prints could give this high a level of image quality. The colours are alive. We print exactly the colours we've put in the designs. Before, [using a non-HP, low-solvent printer] we would have to go back and print again until we got the colours right. With the HP Designjet L65500 Printer, the colours were perfect right from the first print."
Large, durable prints for travelling shows
The HP Designjet L65500 Printer accepts media rolls up to 2.64 m (8.66 ft) wide. „Before, we would always produce 1 m [3.28 ft] -wide posters," continued Batista, „and then have to fit them together. Now, each panel is just one huge print, which saved us much post-production work when preparing the Darwin exhibitions."
The first show, with text in the Catalan language, took place in Lerida in north-eastern Spain, while the replica displays in Spanish were set up in Orce in the south of the country. Both exhibitions will tour for a number of years before they find more permanent homes in a museum or the hall of a new research institute. „Since they are travelling shows," said Batista, „we had to choose strong materials that wouldn't be damaged in transit. We used a metal framework and printed on HP Backlit Scrim Banner, which is very durable and which we are able to take down and put back up easily without tearing, staining or marking the prints."
The welcome banners outside the exhibition halls were printed on the HP Designjet L25500 Printer. „These vertical, front-lit banners are 1 m [3.28 ft] in width," said Batista, „and the print quality is outstanding."
The HP Designjet L25500 Printer is a new model from HP that is already increasing business opportunities for print-service providers with its unrivalled versatility for outdoor and indoor applications1 and the attention it attracts from environmentally conscious customers.
A more comfortable experience for visitors
The HP Designjet L65500 and L25500 printers use innovative, water-based HP Latex Inks, producing print quality comparable to that of low-solvent or eco-solvent printers while reducing the impact of printing on the environment - a good, modern-day message that parallels the Institute's interest in the natural surroundings of prehistoric times. What's more, prints created with HP Latex Inks are odourless.2 „Using a low-solvent printer," said Batista, „our previous exhibitions used to smell of ink. Visitors would comment on the strong printing odours. With the HP printers however, we couldn't even smell the ink when we went to collect the prints and we were standing in front of the machines while they were printing."
Drawing the crowds
The large, colourful displays are pulling in the crowds, contributing to the Institute's objective of interesting a wider public in the study of natural science. Visitors to the shows have also been lining up to use HP's next-generation touchscreen technology: by touching and tracing their fingertips over the screens of the HP TouchSmart PCs, they are able to navigate, easily and quickly, the Institute's Website and the supporting online presentation on Darwin.
News of the exhibitions has spread, and Batista estimates that the Lerida edition received about 18,000 visitors, while the version in Orce, a much smaller town, was seen by approximately 10,000 people, surpassing all expectations. For 2010, the Institution is planning an even bigger exhibition on prehistory, based on the work at its many excavation sites and predicted to attract over one million visitors during the course of a six-year national tour.

 

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