A Fortnight at the Museum

The brief was presented as an examination of museums as cultural institutes. Several lengthy interviews were conducted in order to gain insight into how people interact with museums. We discovered that out interviewees, although with relatively similar backgrounds, used the museum space in completely different ways.

The information gathered from the interviews was mapped thematically and thus became the basis for creating our design challenges. From those questions, we conducted a series of rapid brainstorms as a class to formulate concepts. These concepts were taken back out into the field to be further developed through co-creation interviews.

This process resulted in the following:

KEY INSIGHTS

#1 Everybody agrees that museums are social spaces, yet there are conflicts with social etiquette. People expressed that it is meaningful to go with friends or family to the museum. However, they also confessed to feeling irritated when other museum-goers engaged in conversation.

#2 People expect museums to act as cultural embassies of a certain location and therefore find them an important part of the traveling experience.

#3 Cultural institutions, such as museums, naturally embody the essence of the identity of its location through their presentation and built environment. As a result, they (un)intentionally play a significant part in the visitors’ learning or perception of local cultural and historical aspects.

#4 Group mentality is one of the main driving factors for cultural activities. People tend to visit culture institutions that are more connected to who they are and who they want to be.

DESIGN CHALLENGES

#1 How might we provide tools that allow people to share and be proud of their cultural experience in an easily accessible (non-digital) way?

#2 How might we provide tools that enable museums to be cultural embassies while still embracing the identities of the museum?

SELECTED CONCEPTS FOR CO-CREATION SESSIONS

Trade-A-Ticket
Upon purchase of one admission ticket, you receive a free ticket to another local activity as an incentive to explore the city. Groups of people would all receive the same free ticket. One of the strongest point of this service was the element of surprise; what free admission would you receive next? If the free tickets were localized, then it would open up the city and its smaller attractions to exploration. However, we were warned that such a discount might come across as aggressive marketing.

Exchange of Cultures
A large tubular screen with 360˚ view of another location that is somehow related to the first. Initially, we thought of this installation as a connection between visitors of museums in different cities. The co-creation sessions expressed enthusiasm for the potential to provide creative international contact. It would be an unusual and entertaining way to explore a new city. In this sense, such installations would be most appropriate in outdoor settings.

The Collectable
The ticket is transformed into a beautiful, collectable object that prompts museum-goers to keep them as a valuable memento. It serves as a conversation starter to share cultural experiences. Interviews suggested a preference to receive functional (not just beautiful) objects. Because these objects would be produced in large quantities and as an alternative to tickets, they need to be inexpensive but not tacky or childish.

The essence of the concept would have great promise to connect traveling exhibitions. Tickets are already being produced, therefore the collectable aspect (whether it be an object or an additional layer to the paper form of the ticket) would be a thoughtful and considerate enjoyable addition.

STUDENTS