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Museum Exhibits and Online Worlds
We create permanent installations, traveling exhibitions, and online extensions of both.


  • hawaiian canoe museum exhibit
  • hawaiian canoe museum exhibit
  • hawaiian canoe museum exhibit
  • hawaiian canoe museum exhibit
  • hawaiian canoe museum exhibit














Looking for cutting-edge exhibits and ways to engage your audiences more deeply in the museum and online?


Looking for workshops, camps, and courses that students of all ages will flock to?


CREATIVE ACADEMIES can help you do this!




Through the creation of PHOTOREALISTIC 3-D VIRTUAL WORLDS that visitors can access with:


(1) Interactive Exhibits and Online Adventures

A Virtual Ocean displayed on the Bishop Museum's new, permanent Interactive Wall, donated in 2010 in part by
Creative Academies and the Loughridge family.


(2) Camps and Courses

From the first Virtual Worlds summer camp at New York's American Museum of Natural History,
organized in 2010 by Creative Academies


Interactive Exhibits and Online Adventures

Camps and Courses

How Students Learn at Creative Academies


Bringing Extinct Ecosystems to Life

Exploring and Colonizing Mars

Virtual Diving in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Visiting Ancient Hawaii

Impact, Benefits, and Revenues



1. Interactive Exhibits and Online Adventures


Take, for example, the case of a museum featuring space exploration. With Creative Academies, you as a visitor can immerse yourself in a photorealistic 3-D simulation to learn to train as a real astronaut.


You begin in the presentation area, where a large screen projects a photorealistic simulation. Off to the side, display cases contain objects related to the featured theme. The host selects you to be the astronaut, and chooses among various possible missions. Today, it's a short mission to keep traffic flowing. Because the content can be easily switched on the digital display, all sorts of missions are possible, and can be tailored to random groups, organized school trips, seminars, workshops, longer camps, and other purposes.


The host photographs you, and your face becomes the astronaut's face in the simulation running on the screen. (Alternatively, you may already have had your face placed on the 3-D astronaut at the concession within the museum, or online by uploading photographs on your own.)


Now in front of the audience, you put on a faux astronaut suit. It's time for you to do a spacewalk together with a photo-representation, or “avatar,” of a real astronaut. The avatar answers questions and helps to guide you through the mission, and you use the tracking system in your backpack, helmet, and gloves to follow along and assist.


Following a script, the host coaches you and encourages audience members to play the roles of technician, fellow astronauts, control center staff, etc. The audience monitors the various gauges and meters displayed at the edges of the screen, calls out advice, and performs other tasks.


If a live host is not available, a virtual host – lifelike avatars or versions of famous people from the history of space exploration – will interact with you, posing challenges and offering guidance.


Meanwhile, the visitors behind you are not waiting idly for their own turn; instead, they are interacting with kiosks at stations throughout the line. They complete short missions at each station with simple gestures and easy inputs – at station 1, for example, they might help their astronaut clean up spilled water in a weightless environment.


You complete your mission in just a few minutes, and the audience is thoroughly engaged.


Before you go home, the museum saves online the short missions and training that you have completed, and gives you a starter kit that includes the 3-D astronaut that you customized as well as several months of free subscription to an online museum publication. This lets you go deeper into your missions at home, stay connected with the museum, join in new missions as they are released online, meet with real astronauts, connect with museum staff in 3-D learning environments, join in online courses with students from around the world to complete missions together, and learn from online coaches.


Your mission is over, but you can't wait to return to the museum to embark on other, increasingly difficult missions, which will let you complete your astronaut training and earn badges and status, including points that you can redeem at your next visit to the museum.


You decide to become a member who subscribes to the Online Museum Academy so that you will have access to all missions, in contrast to nonmembers who purchase individual sessions and adventures.


Space exploration is just one example of how Creative Academies can bring to life the assets of a museum through interactive 3-D simulations.


2. Camps and Courses


Whether through museums or schools, at home or online, Creative Academies offers courses that teach students to design, animate, and program their own photorealistic 3-D computer simulations of worlds that are too dangerous, expensive or impossible to visit in the real world.


  • At the Museum:  Join in one of the workshops or summer camps where you will learn to build simulations in the world's most advanced system.
  • Through participating schools: Teachers can take the online training course and offer the curricula at their schools, or they can rely on our coaches in person or through distance coaching.
  • From home with our distance coaches: Families can sign up for small-group classes online to have their children learn these 21st-century skills in science, technology, engineering and math (“STEM”) and digital media.
  • Self-taught, online:  Learn from our virtual experts, and chart your own path.

Creative Academies encourages students to immerse themselves in these virtual worlds, interact with the elements around them, and learn in an entirely new and profound way. 


For instance…


Our students resurrect extinct ecosystems.


They explore and colonize Mars.


And they build ancient Hawaiian villages, interact with the villagers, and sail canoes.

We develop our unique, world-class curricula by collaborating with leading museums and educational institutions, including schools and universities.


Our program combines the arts with science, technology, engineering and math by encouraging students to create their own software – whether in the form of educational games, simulations, animations, websites or videos.


We believe that students learn best when they do their own original, creative work. 


We are proud that our courses in museums and public and private schools have received high praise from students, faculty, and partner institutions – and have been consistently oversubscribed.



How Students Learn at Creative Academies


Whether our students are designing microscopic machines for medicine or reconstructing lost civilizations, the approach is similar:


1. Students begin by formulating key questions, such as how does life form?  What is the future for humanity if we don't protect our oceans? What are the biggest problems to solve in a manned mission to Mars?  How would an ancient Polynesian sailor have navigated by the stars?


2. They then research, design, brainstorm, draw, explain, persuade, analyze, write, create and test hypotheses.


3. They next build their simulations based on facts and carefully delineated inferences. They use imagination and creativity to animate and to program.


4. Finally, they discuss their work and share their interactive worlds with others.





Our staff includes college students, software industry veterans, academics and others who are dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers.



A Sample of Actual Projects


1. Bringing Extinct Ecosystems to Life


In the summer of 2010, Creative Academies was honored to work with New York's American Museum of Natural History (the “AMNH”) to pioneer the first “Virtual Worlds” summer camp. 


In this exciting week-long session at the AMNH, middle school students used real data to recreate extinct species from the ancient seas.  


Before constructing their simulations, the students conducted research within the museum, interviewed experts, and collected data. They learned to carefully identify known facts, list their sources, explain how they made certain inferences based on particular facts, and identify where they made conjectures or educated guesses in the absence of hard data.


The students formulated hypotheses, based on evidence found in the museum's collection, of how marine life might have looked and behaved in the Cretaceous Period.


They then used these hypotheses to construct, animate, and program the behaviors of 3-D computer models. They displayed the simulations with the world's most advanced 3-D virtual platform, called “Blue Mars.”

At the end of the course, our students presented their hypotheses and simulations to an audience of parents, peers, museum staff, and media.

For more about our collaboration with the AMNH, please view this televised broadcast:




2. Exploring and Colonizing Mars


In this program, middle school students create an original 3-D simulation in virtual reality (again using the “Blue Mars” platform) to explore the planet Mars and to learn how Mars might be colonized.


To do this, our students first research the actual challenges that NASA faces in planning a manned mission to Mars. They then brainstorm about possible solutions.


Next, they build and animate the 3-D computer models, as well as program the rules of the simulation. They test their work with virtual reality goggles and tracking gear, cutting-edge technology which allows the students to “become” the astronauts.


The students plan to demonstrate their proposed solutions to NASA officials later this year. Subsequently, their work will be shared globally online, so students across the United States and the rest of the world can team up to join in the virtual missions that they have designed.




3. Virtual Diving in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands


Creative Academies is excited to be collaborating with the Bishop Museum in Honolulu to offer the middle school students at Hawaii Technology Academy – a public charter school – a new way to link current exploration of the oceans with student innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math.


As Bishop Museum researchers continually discover new species of tropical fish, our students build and program 3-D computer models of the fish and simulate a deep-sea dive in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, thereby experiencing the thrill of exploration.


The deep dive simulation features renowned ichthyologist Dr. Richard Pyle and allows the student to accompany Dr. Pyle as his virtual dive partner and research photographer on a 300-foot dive to the dimly lit ocean depths, or “twilight zone,” to identify new tropical species. 


Dr. Pyle is one of the top ichthyologists discovering new species of tropical fish.  Based on his most recent dive, he estimates that 90 percent of species found at depths of 300 feet are endemic to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, found nowhere else in the world. 


As Dr. Pyle discovers new species, the students consult with him and ask questions. Based on his answers, and on videos, photographs, and the specimens he brings back, our students re-construct the species in photorealistic 3-D.


The students program the virtual species to emulate the behaviors of the actual fish, and they set free the virtual fish into a virtual ocean for all to visit.  This virtual ocean is projected on the Bishop Museum's new, permanent “Interactive Wall.”


Our students also share their work online so that audiences worldwide can pay a “virtual visit” to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a protected sanctuary that is otherwise largely inaccessible.


4. Visiting Ancient Hawaii


Students in our middle school courses researched ancient Hawaii and then built, animated and programmed a photorealistic simulation of an ancient Hawaiian village where online visitors can talk with the villagers, sail canoes, and engage in cultural practices. 


Their simulations combined creativity and the arts with science, technology, engineering, and math – an approach we have termed “Creative STEM.”


As one example of Creative STEM, our students learned physics in a culturally rich and immersive way when designing and programming their own version of the traditional Hawaiian game “Ulu Maika.” In this game, players roll a stone between wooden stakes in a fashion similar to croquet and bowling.  To simulate the action of the stone rolling on grass, the students mastered concepts from physics, such as force, acceleration, and friction, and then blended this mathematical logical thinking with their cultural research to recreate the actual game.


One indication of the success of our Creative STEM approach is that our middle school students at Hawaii Technology Academy have soared to top-in-state on standardized assessments. Our students have also demonstrated an ability to invent and collaborate with zeal as they begin to master the art of critical thinking and problem-solving.


An exciting next step in the students' learning process is that many are now eager to serve as coaches to others in Hawaii and around the globe.  Soon, they plan to meet and collaborate with other students worldwide online in the 3-D simulation to help them build their own cultural destinations. Our students will design and program ancient Hawaiian canoes to launch into these voyages of cultural exchange, and to sail online to collaborators in other lands. Through streaming video in the virtual world, our students and coaches will work with student teams in Japan, Singapore, Australia, and various Pacific islands to build new cultural archipelagos for anyone, anywhere, to explore.


We look forward to setting sail to your country, too!

For more on this extraordinary project please see this video:




Impact, Benefits, and Revenues


Creative Academies encourages museum visitors and students to master 21st century skills in science, technology, engineering and math through learning to build their own simulations in 3-D environments.


Audiences around the world who might otherwise not have the chance to visit the museum can participate in the museum's virtual adventures, highly realistic missions, and museum-related online workshops and courses.


With Creative Academies, the museum can generate revenue from a wide range of sources, such as:


  • Participation in interactive exhibitions and online adventures, including ancillary revenue such as the billion dollar business of micro-purchases of virtual items online.
  • More on-site attendance and repeat visitors thanks to the excitement generated by interactive exhibitions, online adventures and rewards programs.
  • Camps and courses.


About Creative Academies' Founder, Mark Loughridge



Before launching Creative Academies, Mark Loughridge co-founded Foundation 9 Entertainment, the largest independent game developer in the world. During his 11-plus years in building this business, Mark oversaw the creative direction of the company, spearheaded new product development, and provided leadership in internal operations and strategic planning. 


Mark earned an M.A. in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts; graduated from Harvard with an A.B. degree, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in East Asian Studies; and studied at Cambridge University in England and Nagoya University in Japan.


He is currently dedicated to applying his many years of experience in the video game industry to help students engage in science, technology, engineering, and math through digital media.


Mark Loughridge
(808) 782-9036



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