Multiple kiosks or full gallery installations that require input from visitors to accommodate an educational and entertaining experience.
Jury Chair: Matthew Fisher
President, Interactive Designer, Night Kitchen Interactive, Philadelphia
GOLD: FIRE – Combustion
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Cortina Productions, Evidence Design, Focus Lighting, MAD Systems, Advanced Entertainment Technology, and Lexington Design + Fabrication
Judges said: The FIRE – Combustion exhibit at the Museum of Science of Industry is a fabulous example of the happy collision between the real and the virtual, using digital tools to look at real phenomena in a new way. Through multiple interactive installations, the exhibit illustrates the chemistry of fire with surprising ease and simplicity; visitors can conduct a live-fire experiment, learn about combustion, engage in educational simulations, and make virtual fireworks that can be emailed home. The panel found the exhibit to be an exemplary model for how technology can be applied in service to an educational goal that would otherwise challenge museum educators, and were particularly impressed by the way the exhibit engages visitors in the scientific method, empowering them to conduct real and virtual experiments that can’t be done at home.
Producers said: FIRE – Combustion is a suite of interactive experiences that allow visitors to explore the dynamic phenomena of fire, the chemistry behind it, and step into the shoes of the fascinating men and women who study it. The area is anchored by a large live-fire experiment and is supported by additional interactive media experiences, linear video and a role-playing game. All of these pieces work together to create a holistic experience that delivers a central message about the chemistry of fire.
SILVER: One Road
National Museum of Australia and Lightwell
Judges said: The One Road multitouch table, made by Lightwell for the National Museum of Australia, is an elegant, educational, and technological tour-de-force. In telling the story of the Canning Stock Route, this beautifully designed table offers several levels of engagement – visitors can play with virtual sand along the sides of the interactive map, watch as critters big and small crawl across the interface, delve deeply into content at various points of interest along the map’s route, and engage in a virtual art-making activity inspired by Aboriginal artists. Not only does the table offer several points of entry, its clever zigzag design truly allows for multiple viewers to engage in content. Panelists were impressed not only by the beauty of this installation, but also its playful nature, which seems to invite visitors back for a second (or third) look.
Producers said: The One Road interactive is a multitouch installation developed by Lightwell for the exhibition Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route, a joint initiative between FORM (an independent cultural organisation based in Western Australia) and the National Museum of Australia.
Spanning over 8 metres in length, the dramatic asymmetrical array of 46″ Multitouch Cells offers visitors a seamless map interface on which they can explore the history and geography of the Canning Stock Route through an extensive range of video material, historical images, and paintings produced by senior and emerging Aboriginal artists from the region.
Designed to be playful, social and collaborative, the interactive also offers a lot in the way of fun, including 3D animations of a Rainbow Serpent and other creatures that traverse the screens, animated desert sand for sketching in, and a painting interface that visitors can use to create their own art.
BRONZE: Contemporary Issues Forum
National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia and Local Projects LLC
Judges said: The Contemporary Issues Forum, created by Local Projects LLC for the National Museum of American Jewish History presents the tried and tested idea of a post-it note forum with a fresh, technological twist. Visitors respond to challenging questions with post-it notes, scan them in a small scanner in the gallery, and adhere their note to the wall. A video camera captures the act of putting their response on the wall, and plays it back to them through a life-sized projection. In addition, the answers are archived online on a separate mini-site Panelists were impressed by this beautifully executed use of technology, retaining the satisfying physical act of writing on a piece of paper and giving the act more permanence and substance in a meaningful way.
Producers said: Inside the Contemporary Issues Forum visitors are encouraged to engage, consider, and debate current issues of vital importance. Visitors can document their personal insights and feelings on hot-button topics of the day and dialogue with others whose opinions might reinforce or contradict their own.
HONORABLE MENTION: Atmosphere…..exploring climate Science
Science Museum, London, Gallery design, Casson Mann, Nick Bell Design, AllofUs, and DHA Design
Judges said: The Atmosphere gallery at the Science Museum of London is a fully immersive environment in which young and teenaged visitors can learn about the science behind climate change. The exhibit features multiple interactives of different styles and levels, which change and influence the projected “atmosphere” on the gallery floor and ceiling. The exhibit is an impressive use of technology and a smart engagement with its target audience. The panel was particularly impressed by the highly interactive content of the exhibit and the opportunity it gives visitors to actually have control over their environment – not only through the interactive exhibit itself, but also through what the exhibit teaches visitors.
Producers said: Atmosphere …exploring climate science is the UK’s first permanent exhibition dedicated to this complex and challenging subject. Launched in December 2010 at the Science Museum in London, it provides a dedicated space for visitors to deepen their understanding of climate science in an enjoyable, engaging and memorable way. A 870m sq gallery, atmosphere targets the Museum’s core audiences – families, students aged 11-16 and their teachers, and independent adults.
Atmosphere presents a genuinely unique combination of cutting-edge new media and ‘world first’ objects. Visitors are greeted with a beautiful panorama view from which they can explore the five content zones, a central multiplayer exhibit, a reflective space and thought-provoking art installation. This rich mix of experience, including 19 new interactives, is all bound together in a beautiful, immersive gallery world that responds to the central exhibit game play. Together they provide a truly multi-layered and multi-sensory experience, through which often challenging scientific content is readily embraced.
The project team worked with a huge range of practicing scientists, built on ten years experience of previous climate change projects, and ensured that audience research was part of the core team from the start.
Atmosphere is part of Climate Changing… a three year series of provocative events. This includes ambitious art-led projects such as the new Cockroach Tour and Rizk a new online game targeting those not actively engaged in the subject. The Science Museum hopes these projects will help our visitors make sense of the science behind our climate changing world.
Director, Educational Technology & Integrated Learning, The Franklin Institute
Partner, Museum Planning, Metcalfe Architecture & Design, Philadelphia, PA
Founding Principal, Bluecadet Interactive
Consulting Historian, Historic Philadelphia, Inc.
Chair, Museum Studies and Director, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Outreach Coordinator, Roy Eddleman Institute
Principal, Remer & Talbott
Vice President of Exhibitions, National Constitution Center
Senior Director of Programs and Services, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania