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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.