Historical museums don't have to be old and boring - especially not when the history is just outside the door. With inspiration from the experience economy, I helped Roskilde Museum transform a traditional city-walk into an engaging experience. By focussing on storytelling, gamification, and an experience-based curating strategy, I designed a complete 1,5-hour long city-walk, as my bachelor thesis in Performance Design.

 
 
 
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The Digital Museum - Experiences for and with the audience

The museum industry are now a days facing challenges, where the citizens demands participatory digital experiences. We live in a time of abundance of cultural offers, and a fast-moving digitalization of our society. This creates opportunities for the museums to re-think their dissemination and curating strategies. In this project I helped Roskilde Museum re-think the traditional city-walk by combining different strategies such as, a performative curating strategy, game design, experience design and storytelling.   

 
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1. Exploring Roskilde

Meeting the museum curators from Roskilde Museum, exploring the city and digging into the history and myths from the Middle Age, helped us shape a basic understanding of the different topics and takes on how to frame the storyline for city-walk. We also researched how other historical museums have worked with performative curating strategies, and how VR and AR has been used in art-projects. 

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2. Mapping the sites

By mapping out the different historical touchpoints in Roskilde, such as monuments, sculptures, churches and buildings, we could map out different versions of the route for city-walk, and which histories and myth associated to each place. 

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3. Ideation

Based on our research and observations in Roskilde we had different ideation-processes going to come up with the main concept for the story-line. By combining the available historical sites in the city and the many myths and legends with experience design, we game up with the storyline: "Mysteriet om det forsvunde kalkmaleri". 

 
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4. A site-specifik game on iPad 

The storyline for the city-walk "Mysteriet om det forsvundne kalkmaleri" is based on a location-based game on iPad. At each location of the city-walk, the participants need to answer questions to unlock the next destination in the city-walk. By answering correctly on site-specific questions, the participant collect pieces of a puzzle, that will help them solve the mystery the city-walk tries to answer. 

 

 
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5. Experience-based curating

At each location of the city-walk, we used an experience based curating-strategy. The strategy focuses on how space and objects can be a contributing part of to the story-telling and the audience experience. In the underground below an old church in Roskilde, where the remains of a burned down medieval church, we designed the room to engage the audience senses through video projections and sound.

 
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6. Concept test

The concept was tested by inviting employees and boradmembers from Roskilde Museum to join the 1,5 hour city-walk. We had hired an actor to play the role as an munk and guide for thecity-walk. We had also designed a live prototype of the iPad-game, so the participants could play it, as part of the test. We completed the test by interviewing the participants.