John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum

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Museum Vision, Interpretive Plan and Experience Design. As a part of our efforts developing master and implementation plans for downtown Waterloo and for the TechWorks Campus, Vandewalle & Associates helped develop a John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo. The concept was circulated for some time, garnering support from Deere employees, customers, and enthusiasts. In 2008 Deere worked with Vandewalle & Associates’ design team and project managers to develop an initial vision for the museum.

Beginning in 2012 the project moved into the next stages of development, during which the Vandewalle team collaborated with various architectural, exhibit fabrication and other partners. Vandewalle & Associates’ key roles were:

  • Comprehensive vision development
  • A preliminary Interpretive Plan
  • Cost estimates
  • Redevelopment expertise
  • Space planning
  • Content development and integration
  • Experience design and exhibit ideas
  • Thematic development
  • A robust final Interpretive Plan
  • Guidance for exhibit development
  • Guidance to architects

Content Integration was a critical stage for the project, as the team strove to develop content appropriate to an immersive museum experience. Vandewalle & Associates worked to integrate its Design Team content and concepts with the client’s needs and brand, various other stakeholders’ ideas, perspectives, content, and artifacts. The resulting plan—and ultimately the built museum—achieved a depth and richness of storytelling that encompassed everything from product and corporate history, personal stories, technology development, agriculture, worker experience, impact on developing the City of Waterloo, global distribution, and education. This dynamism and depth would not have been possible for any one party to generate alone.

Today this unique, interactive museum is open for local, regional, and international visitors of all ages, and offers something for everyone. The 27,000-square-foot museum is located near downtown, and includes six interpretive galleries, a 100-seat theater, and a retail store.  An excellent example of building reuse integrated with experience development, the museum is located on the original site of the Waterloo Tractor Works plant—a fitting place to tell the more than century-long story of Deere, its employees, tractor and engine development, and its history in Waterloo.