Creating a high engagement museum exhibit with the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery was looking to activate an old exhibit space into an engaging experience, so they turned to Alt Ethos to create a lighting instrument. The previous exhibit displayed a looped video about the music scene in Fort Collins with a set of couches for visitors to sit to watch the video. The exhibit was passive; they wanted an environment that captured visitors’ attention and pushed deeper engagement.
1.Create a unique instrument playable by multiple people at the same time.
2. Turn the space into an active experience that engages people of all ages.
Step 1: User Experience Research
The team began the journey with user experience research to better understand the community that enjoys the museum and the relationship between the vision of the organization, personas of the users, dynamics of the space, and interactions that connect people to the space and vision.
Step 2: Design
The design phase highlighted that the tucked away location of the piece was a unique opportunity to engage “sweater holder” parents as well that don’t often interact with the exhibits choosing instead to watch their children and sit off to the side.
The ideal interaction time was approximated around five minutes to ensure adequate flow throughout the other exhibits. The team moved forward with wireless sensing technology located overhead in the room to maximize the life of the exhibit by basing the interaction dynamics off of the position of audience members in the space.
Step 3: Development and Testing
The development and testing of the exhibit occurred in a series of sprints. The major benefit of the sprints was iterative testing of the sound curation because in generative sound environments it can be easy to be swept into a cacophony of sound.
Tuning the parameters to limit key aspects of the sound design along with smoothing sensor data was a major breakthrough in the design that pushed the aesthetic of the installation.
Step 4: Implementation and Delivery
Alt Ethos installed the installation over the course of two weeks ensuring that any major physical changes to the environment took place on the Mondays when the museum was closed.
An essential factor in a smooth delivery was remote access to the computers allowing for the team to make changes and improve the software while not onsite. This allowed for a faster delivery time and for changes to take effect rapidly during the installation phase.
Step 5: Evaluation
The use of wireless sensing technology also meant that as soon as a person enters the space, they became part of the musical composition. After the implementation and delivery, this dynamic was identified as a key variable in converting passive adults to active participants in the museum experience.
Doing so created an environment ripe for more connections to the space that involved the whole family thus driving more memberships, donations, and buy in from the adults in the local community.