Traveling wood display highlights the benefits of softwood lumber construction
November 18, 2019 | 4:52 pm UTC
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The traveling exhibit "Think Wood Mobile Tour" will be on display through Nov. 20 on the Arkansas Union Mall on the University of Arkansas campus.  
The exhibit, set up in a converted storage unit, is a museum-like display that showcases the environmental and economic benefits of different softwood lumber and engineered wood products and their many uses in both residential and commercial construction.
The traveling exhibit features a variety of interactive elements, such as building models, kiosks and LED screens, that tell the wood story from forest to market.
The tour is provided in partnership by the Softwood Lumber Board, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, and APA-The Engineered Wood Association, and it is endorsed by the National Building Museum.
Wood products, including mass timber, have seen strong growth in the last decade as they meet demands for sustainable and affordable living and working spaces. Wood is the only major building material that is renewable.  When wood is used in construction, it continues to store carbon for the life of the structure, minimizing a building's carbon footprint. 
Further, substituting wood for concrete and steel in structural systems of commercial buildings reduces fossil fuel use and cuts emissions of greenhouse gases, says the University of Arkansas.
In the United States alone, the softwood lumber industry is a significant employer, providing nearly 210,000 direct jobs in harvesting and manufacturing and more than 775,000 direct and indirect jobs to Americans.
"The Think Wood Mobile Tour provides a window into the possibilities of wood for developers, architects, engineers and other stakeholders across the country," said Ryan Flom, chief marketing officer at the Softwood Lumber Board. "Where most see just a tree, we see the future of the built environment."
This exhibit follows the Timber! Design Excellence in Timber and Wood Symposium hosted by the Fay Jones School and the U.S. Forest Service last month on the University of Arkansas campus.
The Fay Jones School is committed to promoting design excellence and innovations in design through the use of wood and timber, particularly that sourced in Arkansas, which is 57 percent forested. The school will offer an Integrated Wood Design concentration within its Master of Design Studies program beginning in fall 2020.
The University of Arkansas says it is quickly becoming known as a center of design and research in mass timber and wood products, with timber projects including the university's Library Annex Building - the first mass timber construction in the state - and the recently completed Adohi Hall, the first large-scale mass timber residence hall project in the United States. 
Future University of Arkansas timber projects include the recently announced Ross and Mary Whipple Family Forest Education Center at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs and the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation in Fayetteville.
The Think Wood Mobile Tour is making stops around the United States, starting with the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitats 10th World Congress in Chicago in October. In early 2020, the traveling exhibit will head to Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon.
The exhibit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Wednesday, Nov. 20, and admission is free. 

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected]