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Through the doorways of experience: delivering commercial hardware solutions for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

When OMSI’s Kendall Planetarium needed an overhaul of its entry harddware, doors, and locks, the museum tapped Chown Hardware to craft a custom solution.

Established in Portland, Oregon, in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a regional landmark in the Pacific Northwest.

One of its lasting attractions is the Kendall Planetarium, a “sky theater” that showcases CGI astronomy and laser light performances daily.

The Kendall Planetarium provides audiences—coming from all over the world to visit OMSI—a deeply immersive experience. Any flaw in the built environment, and it shows.

Dave Hesselman has served as the Maintenance Manager at OMSI since 2005. “It was clear that the doors of the Planetarium had to be replaced,” explains Dave, “when light and noise started leaking in during shows. The disrepair was impacting visitor experience. We had to solve it.”

But with community icons like OMSI, there’s no such thing as a cookie-cutter solution.

“Most of the building hardware at OMSI has been in service for more than 30 years,” says Dave. “Our goal has always been to respect the original design specifications and standards of the museum. Any update is the result of either necessary improvements or the installation of a new exhibit.”

OMSI required a partner that could work with its maintenance experts to design and install a custom solution quickly and efficiently. After a number of consultations with other hardware companies, OMSI tapped Chown to replace the doors of the Kendall Planetarium.

“As a native Oregonian, the opportunity to partner with OMSI is a huge honor for our family,” says Kyle Chown, President of Chown Hardware. “I spent many hours as a kid learning about science and now my wife and I are members and take our two boys to OMSI frequently. It’s not just a museum. OMSI is a part of Portland’s heritage.”

The sense of partnership wasn’t lost on OMSI.

“Along with selling quality products, the Chown team is immensely knowledgeable and professional,” says Dave. “True problem solvers, they provided and installed new doors, hinges, closers, panic bars, and locking hardware—all of which greatly improved the performance of the light locks.”

With the Kendall Planetarium back in the business, OMSI asked Chown to inspect the issues the museum was having with the front entry doors. It turned out that the original floor-mounted closers and weather seals were failing. To save the cost of a full door replacement, Chown supplied the proper top-mount closers, disabling the old hardware, and upgrading the doors with new LCN closers. The product team at Chown was also able to source proper repair parts to replace the worn weather seals—drastically increasing the longevity of the original entryways.

“It’s simple,” says Dave. “Chown has the sales and service staff that can help us maintain and—when necessary—replace building hardware in ways that are resilient, functional, and cost-effective. There’s no one else I’d go to for custom hardware solutions.”


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