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published: April, 2002

Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Technologies for Interactive Exhibit Design: from Wireless object and body tracking to wearable computers
Flavia Sparacino, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA

Workshop: Interactive Exhibit Design

Museums have recently developed a strong interest in technology, as they are more than ever before in the orbit of leisure industries. They are faced with the challenge of designing appealing exhibitions, handling large volumes of visitors, and conserving precious artwork. They look at

technology as a possible partner which can help archive a balance between leisure and learning as well as help them be more effective in conveying story and meaning. This workshop explores two areas of technological intervention which can contribute to engage the public and enrich its experience during the museum visit. They are: Information Overlay in Smart Rooms (adding technology to the museum space) and Spatialized Interactive Narrative with Smart Clothes (adding technology to the visitor).

The workshop explains in detail appropriatedness, advantages, context of use, necessary resources, and expected outcomes of various technological augmentations for museum exhibits. Examples of these technological platforms are drawn from the instructor's background/experience and are: Responsive Portraits, The Unbuilt Ruins interactive table, the body driven Meta City Sarayevo installation, City of News and Participative City of News, and the Museum Wearable.

The workshop leverages from case studies of technological augmentation for various museum exhibits such as:

  • Unbuilt Ruins, MIT Compton Gallery
  • The Unprivate House, MOMA
  • Points of Departure, SFMOMA
  • Robots and Beyond, MIT Museum

The audience will leave with a better understanding of why and when it is appropriate to gear the museum space or the museum visitor with technology, what are the possible alternative, outcomes, necessary resources, costs, and challenges.