The big idea

Lots of research and plenty of discussions and now we have the big idea and a plan for testing it all out.

There have been lots of challenges so far, from the physical challenges of creating a new ‘exhibition’ in a museum full of visitors, through to the cerebral challenges of how to overcome the fact that the first thing visitors experience in the museum is a video of the Ivory Bangle Lady telling them her full story.

We have now outlined the plan for the project and here’s an excerpt from our concept note:

Taking the themes, aims and objectives into account we propose creating a trail around the Yorkshire Museum where visitors solve clues which unlock videos of the Ivory Bangle Lady herself in ‘hidden’ areas of the museum.

The experience for the visitor to the museum will start at reception where museum staff can promote the trail to visitors entering the exhibit. Visitors then enter the main atrium of the museum and discover the first point of contact with the Ivory Bangle Lady in the form of the existing video wall presentation.

We propose creating a visual language that we can use around the museum to guide people to spots that are on the IBL trail. Practically we envisage using floor vinyl to highlight the trail areas and help visitors move to the engagement spaces. We feel that placing such markers around the existing atrium video presentation will also help visitors move from the reception entrance to the touchscreen, initiate the video and start their trail, whereas at the moment people can miss the display until later in their experience.

Once we have established this design language visitor’s will be able to use this as a orientation device around the parts of the museum that are on the IBL trail.

Each trail point video is ‘unlocked’ by the visitor tweeting or texting a codeword which will ‘trigger’ a projected video of the IBL onto the chosen area of the museum. The trail is staggered so that the visitor gets the clue to what the codeword is for the next trail point, when they reach the next trail point they tweet or text the codeword to start the next video.

In each video the Ivory Bangle Lady presents a certain area of her background to the visitor. She is sometimes accompanied by a modern version of herself (a distant cousin if you will) as a method to question facts and introduce how modern science is used to discover such ‘facts’.

Video presentations can be projected onto unused wall spaces, onto glass presentation cabinets (with frosted overlay) and on existing LCD screens. 


We have now tested the technology between tweeting (or texting) a codeword and it triggering the videos (thanks Dan for your help). We are writing the scripts and filming for the pilot is next Monday.

Our plan is to pilot the project in the Yorkshire Museum on the 21st June. This will be a rough pilot without the triggering technology in place. We want to make sure that the trail idea and the clues given in the video are clear enough for people to follow and that the visitors start connecting with the parts of the story we are presenting. If all goes well on this pilot we will then work with the museum to get the real video filmed and install the technology.

Very exciting indeed.