The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has the vision to be the world's most relevant natural history museum. To achieve this vision, a shift in the museum's personality and brand image is necessary. Museums have always been a source of knowledge and information. But with the changing times, in order to stay relevant, there is a pressing need for museums to engage their visitors in creative ways and be much more than information providers.
Interaction Design Studio at Carnegie Mellon University
Duration: 6 weeks
Exploratory research, conceptualization, Defining user journey, UI and UX design of final outcome, video production, project management
Aftereffects, Premier Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, Cinema 4D, Spark AR, Reality Composer
Bhakti Shah, Deepika Dixit, Jisoo Shon, Michelle Chou, Anuprita Ranade
Encounter is an immersive experience that serves as a portal to the wildlife habitats through engaging storytelling and interactive games
Visitors can immerse in the wildlife habitats of the animals, hear the sounds of the habitat and understand the scene being depicted.
Explore each diorama by knowing about the unique qualities of animals through interactive games
Play interactive games to learn how the bodies of these animals are designed to survive in their habitats
Use your imagination by mixing the unique qualities of different animals to create a new imaginary animal.
Interact with the imaginary animal you created
Take home a card of your imaginary animal and re-engage with it using the mobile application
We spent a lot of time at the museum observing different types of visitors, how they interacted with the exhibits and navigated the museum space.
Visitors were mostly in groups of 3 or 4: Parents/Grandparents with their children/grandchildren.
Activities mostly involved adults explaining the exhibits to their children.
Kids were mostly fascinated by the colors and textures and were interested in touching everything and playing with the exhibits.
We spoke with Rebecca Shreckengast, Director of Exhibition Experience. She shared valuable insights about the role of museums, preferences of visitors, and the vision of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
1. Visitors want personalized and customized experiences
2. Visitors expect to have social experiences
3. Museums need to serve as places of inspiration to visitors
We visited the children's museum of Pittsburgh as it attracted a similar audience. We observed the nature of the exhibits and how visitors interacted with them..
Many exhibits focused on doing activities in pairs or groups
The immersive nature of the exhibits engaged visitors for a longer time
The museums has activities that encourage imaginative thinking
Activities are participative and co-creative
In the past, dioramas were a medium for people to explore different cultures and natural habitats around the world. The advent of modern media and technology has given people new ways to explore the world, making dioramas obsolete
When we interviewed visitors, they described the dioramas as:
We compared the attributes of the Children's Museum and Carnegie Museum of Natural History to identify what we wanted our design direction to be
The dioramas are described by the museums as a window to the wild as we can see them from a distance inside their glass chambers.
Since we are augmenting the environment and making the user feel like they are entering the animal’s habitat, our concept is a “door to the wild”. This experience will act as a “portal to an amazing world”.
Mapping the diorama space
The user journey
To design immersive experiences for the dioramas, we examined the details of each animal and its habitats including colors, textures, and sounds.
We brainstormed ideas based on the knowledge each diorama had to offer. For example, the Jaguar diorama had information about the animal's speed. We designed an interactive experience that allows visitors to compare their running speed with that of the jaguar's.
We named our experience Encounter, which means the visitors come across unexpected experiences in the museum. They encounter nature, animals, their habitats, a new dimension, and a new experience.
The interactive experience has features where visitors can create their own imaginary animals by combining unique features of the animals they learn about.
We experimented with Spark AR by Facebook to prototype the AR experience associated with the souvenir cards
© 2021 Anuprita Ranade