Catalysts of Curiosity

Catalysts of Curiosity, Greg Belew and Kathy-Gustafson-Hilton of Handss On!Our diverse ensemble seeks to find the spark that ignites curiosity and sets the stage for visitors to discover the captivating world around them. We help museums become places of inspiration, joy and purpose by bringing innovative thinkers from complementary disciplines to the same table.

With more than three decades in the business, we know what it takes to make the seed of an idea sprout, and to nurture it to reality. A forward-looking mindset and passion for innovation serve to balance our deep experience. Together, these qualities allow us to help museums successfully give flight to their ideas.


Hands On! Team

Greg Belew
Principal-in-Charge

Lyn S. Wood
Industrial Designer and Museum Educator

Ed Pease
Senior Environmental and Exhibit Designer

Kathy Gustafson-Hilton
Client Liaison and Creative Thinking Facilitator

Sharon Handy
Creative Content, Media Development and Communications

Greg Belew

Principal-in-Charge

Greg BelewGreg is an exceptional project manager and exhibit designer who handles every phase of exhibition development from start to finish. Greg's depth of experience has given him a comprehensive knowledge of what it takes to manage the critical juncture between content, design and fabrication/installation coordination. Greg’s collaborative approach to management and design has resulted in dozens of successful, high profile projects.

A licensed architect, Greg also coordinates between Hands On!’s clients, their architects and contractors to advise on effective building programs, define a project's infrastructure and manage the complex interface between exhibition and architectural environment. Greg has worked with renowned architects such as James Stewart Polshek, Moshe Safdie, Lake/Flato and MGA Partners to create beautifully designed projects that work for visitors and staff alike.

In addition, Greg has decades of experience developing comprehensive plans, budgets and schedules that are realistic, reflective of each client’s particular needs, and supportive of long-term sustainability.

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Lyn S. Wood

Designer

Lyn Wood of Hands On!As the original founder of Hands On!, Lyn has been designing and planning forward-looking museum exhibitions for more than 30 years. She is an idea person as well as an accomplished designer, and is in great demand as a consultant to museums that are in the process of re-imagining their institutions.

Coming from a family of world travelers, Lyn's immersion into other cultures has given her a creative sensibility that draws upon a wide array of cultural, artistic and historical sources. Lyn uniquely combines a BA in Industrial and Environmental Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology and an MA in Museum Education from the nationally acclaimed program at George Washington University. This two-pronged expertise allows her to create exciting exhibitions that are elegantly designed, operationally sound and intellectually inspirational.

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Ed Pease

Environmental and Exhibit Designer

Ed PeaseEd brings his expertise as an architect and environmental designer to create award-winning exhibitions that integrate flawlessly with the building architecture in both style and performance.

A licensed architect, Ed has more than 25 years of experience in the design and construction of museums and fine arts centers, historical restoration and new residences. In addition to architecture, Ed works in a variety of media, and his photography, painting and sculpture have been recognized in numerous exhibitions and installations.

Ed holds a BA in Environmental Design and an MA in Architecture, and continues to share his knowledge and experience as an adjunct instructor at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, where he has taught architectural design since 1991. Ed has also been a visiting lecturer and design critic at Hampton University, James Madison University, Umbau School of Architecture, and ISARK School of Architecture in Reykjavik, Iceland.

In addition to the many awards his designs for Hands On! have earned, Ed has received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Virginia Society AIA and the FNMA Award for Excellence in the Design of Affordable Housing.

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Kathy Gustafson-Hilton

Client Liaison and Creative Thinking Facilitator

Kathy Gustafson-HiltonKathy is a recognized leader in the facilitation of creative thinking throughout the museum industry. She uses skills honed through more than 25 years of acting, theater, film and arts management and 22 years with Hands On! to help clients build strong decision-making frameworks for their projects.

Kathy develops and facilitates a process for each client team to come to a mission-driven, visitor-focused, shared vision of their project. Kathy helps teams to set exhibition goals and cutting-edge approaches to content that reflect the personality of each organization. She also serves as Hands On!'s community liaison and works with advocates, stakeholders and focus groups, in addition to managing artists who contribute to our projects. Kathy's skill at building relationships among these groups is unsurpassed.

Kathy currently serves as a member of the Conference Program Committee for the Association of Children's Museums (ACM). Additionally, she spent several years as a member of the National Conference Program Planning Committee for the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), served on the board of the National Association of Museum Exhibition (NAME) and has been a speaker at the ACM, ASTC and AAM national conferences.

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Sharon Handy

Creative Content, Media Development and Communications

Sharon HandySharon’s specialty is unearthing the core of a complex topic and making it captivating, understandable and exciting for people of all ages and experience levels. As a creative content developer, she focuses on the formation of exhibition themes and messaging, experiences and educational approaches, exhibition master plans, exhibit prototyping and evaluation, and the writing and art direction of labeling and graphic content.

Sharon also leads the development of interactive media, handling everything from initial research through storyboarding, scripting and the shaping of engaging, effective visitor interfaces.

Sharon holds a BA and MA in Literature, has numerous publications and presentations to her credit, and is an experienced science grant writer who has authored successful proposals totaling more than $16 million.

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