How might we design a system that provides engaging activities for families to experience dioramas in a new way at the Natural History Museum?
Wildlife Adventure is an interactive activity that utilizes augmented reality to allow visitors to discover new information about dioramas and gain a new perspective on how human impacts affect different ecosystems.
Research, Concept Development, and Product Design
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Chen Ni, Melody Ma, Laura Rodriguez
01 Defining the Problem Space
We had the opportunity to create a design intervention with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Their vision is to be the world's most relevant natural history museum and "to use their collections and scientific expertise to create knowledge that inspires an understanding of natural heritage, communicate the unity and interdependence of humanity and nature, and advocate for the protection of the earth and its in habitants, while encouraging participation in the natural sciences."
Diorama's have a rich history and tradition associated with natural history museums, however there is a feeling that they are old-fashioned in comparison to newer exhibit styles. During our research, we observed that visitors had a tendency to slowly move through the room quickly scanning the dioramas when walking by. In addition, there was a lack of deep conversation between family members and observation of the individual dioramas on display.
40% of families spent 2–5 minutes in the diorama hall, which contains 26 dioramas
In combination with low visitor engagement, we wanted to designed a solution that would improve visitor engagement in the diorama room.
Based on our research, we wanted to investigate how do we design a system that provides engaging activities for families to experience dioramas in a new way focusing on
Wildlife Adventure is an interactive activity that utilizes augmented reality to allow visitors to discover new information about the dioramas and gain an new perspective on how human impacts affect the different ecosystems
The users first arrive at the center station. Here they are able to select the dioramas they would like to visit and receive the items they will need to complete Wildlife Adventure. They are introduced to Ranger Joe, Wildlife Adventure's mascot, and given basic instructions by a stationed museum employee.
Once the users arrive at the first diorama, they scan their cameras at the side panel and are greeted by Ranger Joe and given instructions to use their cameras to find hidden animals in the diorama. We choose to utilize augmented reality because it allowed us to introduce new information within the physical space of the dioramas without having to change the physical structure of the original diorama environments. All the hidden animals would be species that live in the ecosystems being presented by that specific diorama.
The following video is a simulation of the AR experience for the user.
After the users are finished, they return to the side panel, scan their cameras to view the animals they found, and perform a timeline based activity related to invasive species.
They are promoted to play with the timeline to see how the invasive specie changes the ecosystem. In addition to visual effects, additional audio information is provided to enhance observation of the visual changes occurring. The user is then promoted to use the timeline to go back to 2027 and guess which animal is the invasive species.
After selection, they are taken to an information screen where they can watch a video and read additional information about the invasive specie. The user is then taken to a pledge page where they are promoted to select a way they will help the environment.
We decided to include a pledge system to help relate the human impacts information back to the user. It provides a cause, effect, and action sequence. For each activity, the pledges relate to the specific human impact that is introduced.
The following video is a simulation of the timeline experience with accompying audio.