Yesterday, I was invited to a meeting of the MuseumFutures Lab. The Lab is part of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and is associated with the Connected Everyday Lab of Prof. Elisa Giaccardi. Its focus is on exploring the future of museum experience design, looking at experiences that start before and last beyond the physical museum visit. Such experiences are connected to personal lives, activities that take place in schools, community spaces and other institutions. Arnold Vermeeren, the director of the Museum Futures Lab happened to be our guest last year for the Cultural Heritage Communities workshop organised in conjunction with Communities&Technologies 2015.
The work of several students and researchers associated with the Lab explores the role of the Internet of Things, DIY technology, the Maker Movement and other current technology-related developments in facilitating and stimulating the design of new experiences for museums and heritage places.
Some of the previous work done in the group includes:
- Kiss the Frog, a treasure hunt style app for Mauritshuis;
- a CHI 2016 workshop on involving the crowds in future museum experience design;
- the Living Proof installation for Museon.
Arnold invited specialists from two prestigious Dutch agencies involved in designing for museums (Fabrique and Tellart), an independent museum exhibit designer currently working with Royal Delft Porcelain, as well as a number of colleagues from IDE, to listen to presentations made by four postgraduate students currently working with different Dutch museums and attempting to design innovative experiences for their visitors.
The ideas were extremely diverse. They ranged from combining museum visits with making in an adjacent makerspace, to organising country side circuits of memorial houses including transportation and accommodation solutions, and designing joint museum experiences for visually impaired people accompanied by friends or family.
After the presentations, we had a round of feedback for which pairs of specialists forming the audience had the chance to discuss separately with each of the students. It was a rewarding experience, as all these group discussions allowed us to exchange information in an efficient and intellectually stimulating way.
My time here at TU Delft proves to be very rewarding. My initial plan was to hide, read and write, but I am finding myself attending a lot of interesting events just because I happen to be here!