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John Zehren

Senior Shop Supervisor

I started with the Field in January of 1997 working in Permanent Exhibitions Maintenance. My background is in sculpture, and I do a lot of welding as well as wood working. After six months I moved into Exhibitions Interactives, where I worked as a Technician for almost two years. I was then assigned to the Mount Shop for a six month period before taking my current position as the Exhibitions Production Shop Supervisor. In my years at this post, I have worked to modularize and streamline the Shop to reflect current equipment and technologies. I have expanded, and integrated the materials we use to build, including plastic, steel and aluminum. Last year, I changed the name of our Shop from the "Exhibitions Wood Shop", to the "Exhibitions Production Shop" to reflect these changes. I have pioneered changes in not only how we build things, but have done extensive work in making our display Cases Conservation friendly. In fact, there's an article published here on the site if you're interested. In addition to running the Shop, I have assisted building and installing Shows, and trained and run crews in almost every Exhibition that has been built, or traveled here. On some I have functioned as Production Supervisor. I am also involved with the Design and Detailing of most Exhibitions to establish strategies, and test materials. I am also one of the Exhibitions Department Safety Officers, and have fourteen hours of OSHA certification. Along with several others, am responsible for helping establish and run our Safety Program. This includes writing policy and protocols, and conducting training. I even attended the Ho Chi Minh City Museum Conference in Vietnam in 2007, to deliver a paper on establishing a Museum Safety Program. I have worked on many amazing things here at the Field. I helped make a custom set of wheels to move a three thousand year old Etruscan Arch from the city of Kish. I built an enclosure for the Tiffany Window for The Grainger Hall of Gems. I built a full size Bio-mechanical model of a prehistoric fish skull (Dunkleosteus), and assisted Mark Westneat, Ph.D. from fishes, in testing the bite strength for a segment that aired on The History Channel's series "Evolve". When we rebuilt the Dinosaur Halls in 2004, I developed the system we used to move specimens, and I have even helped welding various dinosaurs armatures, including some of the Chinese specimens. How cool is that? And those 11 foot long curved oak benches at the South door? I made those. My years here at the Field have been a privilege, and if you're interested in seeing more, visit my website.


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 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin Parkside in 1987, where I specialized in Scuplture.