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Experience Design

Critical thinking about how we design, shape, prototype, and evaluate meaningful and engaging museum experiences.

Sunday marked the 30-year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  My first thought was, “Really, only 30 years?”  It is shocking that people in the United States with disabilities had to wait so long to have their rights acknowledged by our government.  I also couldn’t help but notice that the 30th anniversary of...
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For the past few years, I’ve traveled to New York City every spring to do a guest lecture for a class of graduate students who are part of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Exhibition and Experience Design program. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t go in person this year, but luckily we were still able...
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Before attending this year’s MCN Conference in Denver, I had never heard of keynote speaker Amber Case. Now, I’m mildly obsessed. Case is a “cyborg anthropologist.” Put simply, she studies how humans’ relationship with technology is changing the way individuals and cultures think, act, and understand our worlds.  In her keynote, Case discussed the 8...
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Before I visited Dublin this summer, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum was not at all on my radar.  And, I must admit that the advertisement “fully digital museum” did not excite me, but I am so glad we gave it a chance because it turned out to be one of the most interesting parts of...
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Whole Garden and West Gallery exhibition [2013] (Read the full report) The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) contracted RK&A to study visitors’ experiences in the current West Gallery exhibition. However, after an initial meeting, USBG recognized that any changes to the West Gallery should be intentional and done in the context of staff’s aspirations for...
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The case study below highlights two summative evaluations RK&A did at the California Academy of Sciences (CAS).  Both exhibitions debuted in the new CAS building that opened in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in September 2008.  Although the two exhibitions use different interpretive methods and have different learning outcomes, the two projects together highlight the...
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This year, I was lucky to receive a full scholarship to attend the 42nd annual Museum Computer Network (MCN) conference in Dallas, TX. For those who don’t know, MCN’s a fantastic organization that focuses on digital engagement in the cultural sector. Here’s a video of some of the highlights from the conference:     I’d...
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A recent Telegraph article announced that the chairman of Arts Council England thinks there should be a one-hour photo ban (on selfies in particular) in art galleries. My first reaction was: “This is an interesting and absolutely horrible idea.” I see how a photo ban could be conceived as a strategy to enhance the visitor...
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The case study below is from a project RK&A did with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL and highlights the importance of iterative testing. — Future Energy Chicago Simulation [2013] An evaluation of a multimedia simulation for a science museum Between 2012 and 2013, RK&A conducted four rounds of formative evaluation of...
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As we move further and further into the digital age, museums hold something that is becoming a rare commodity—real objects and artifacts. It may be hard to believe, but one day, many tangible objects may be obsolete, the way that printed photographs and airplane tickets are becoming scarce items. Instead of going on “digs,” future...
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