Foothill Ranch, CA | August, 2009 – It is said that no battle is won without boots on the ground, and those boots belong to the ground forces. Located outside the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, the National Infantry Museum honors the oldest and largest branch of the U.S. Army. The signature attraction at the new museum, called “The Last 100 Yards,” relies on Renkus-Heinz ICONYX steerable array loudspeakers in its portrayal of 234 years of infantry history.
The exhibit, which acts as an entryway to the rest of the museum, is a gently sloping, 100-yard ramp featuring chronological multimedia journey through eight key battles from the Revolutionary War up through the current War on Terrorism. According to Major General Jerry White (ret.), president of the private National Infantry Foundation, which operates the museum, “The Infantryman’s mission is best portrayed by having visitors fight with those soldiers overthe last 100 yards of major wars from the Revolutionary War to the present. The music, the gunfire, the lighting all work together to completely immerse the visitor in the experience.”
Edwards Technologies of El Segundo, CA handled the design and installation. “The Last 100 Yards is an experience that incorporates audio, video and lighting along with scenic exhibitry,” notes project manager Doug Storm. “It’s not unlike walking through a movie. The soundtrack is the unifying theme as you go up the ramp. Because the walls are angled outward and the walking path is curved, it was critical to design a speaker system that could provide even coverage anywhere on the ramp without being visually intrusive.”
The solution was to mount a total of 16 Iconyx IC8-R columns, eight per side, within the exhibit walls. These are equipped as standard with RHAON (Renkus-Heinz Audio Operations Network), allowing full remote control and monitoring over a single CAT5 cable.
“The Iconyx software gave us the flexibility to steer the audio down onto the meandering pathway of the ramp so that visitors are always immersed in the soundtrack,” Storm remarks. “They’re actually designed to be flush-mounted on walls, but in this deployment, they were mounted inside an access panel covered with acoustically transparent scrims. The modular design of the Iconyx columns meant we were able to modify the mount so we could pivot the speakers back toward the ramp while hidden from sight.”
The full multimedia experience is run through an Alcorn McBride V16 Pro show controller, which coordinates the audio soundtrack, video projection and lights into a cohesive presentation throughout the Last 100 Yards exhibit. “With its combination of beam steering and CobraNet connectivity, the Renkus-Heinz ICONYX was the perfect solution for this exhibit,” says Doug Storm.
The National Infantry Museum opened to the public on June 19 with a dedication ceremony featuring former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell.