The Inspiring Minds exhibition is designed to provide visitors to the Wright Museum, specifically African American students, with an opportunity to experience the wonder of science within a framework that pays great respect to the historic and contemporary achievements of those African Americans who have made significant contributions to society through science and technology.
The exhibition achieves this through a wide range of experiences, layered to excite the interest of individuals, school groups and families. The Museum expects that visitors will bring a wide range of educational and social interests to the experience.
The exhibition is colourful and friendly and offers experiences from interaction with a hi-tech multi-touch wall and other multimedia through to simple flip books and other activities appropriate to small children. A set of boxes in the central space provide an activity for students from four to fourteen. Students are asked to use the painted cubes either as seats for presentations or to create a large map of Africa by engaging in a jigsaw style activity. Visitors can also make and email their own video recordings to comment on their experiences. Five distinct historic exhibits are interspersed with grids of small assemblages to introduce enticing bite-sized pieces of scientific information. Visitors are also invited to explore at their own pace but can also be gathered together in front of the twenty-nine ft long multi-touch interactive wall for presentations about three different subjects through the lenses of both history and science.
Over a six month period, Magian worked with the Museum's Inspiring Minds Planning Team to assist in defining aims and objectives for this permanent exhibition. Magian was subsequently contracted by the Wright to be the prime contractor for the design, development and fabrication of the Inspiring Minds – African Americans in Science and Technology. Magian's scope included exhibit concept design and planning, design development and fabrication, graphics design and production, content development for the scientific aspects of the exhibition and the development of non-historical content for some media exhibits. Magian developed the science content for two of the three programs for the iconic multi-touch interactive wall – Our Oceans and Science in Africa. All other content was developed by Wright staff working sometimes with external consultants and interns.
Magian also worked with Wright staff to ensure that as many aspects of the exhibit as possible could be refreshed over time as easily as possible. Consideration was given to the construction of scientific assemblages and printed graphics being as flexible as possible. All touchscreen programs are content managed by the Magian MMaPS CMS which makes altering and updating multimedia content very simple. In addition it is possible to add extra content to the programs for the multi-touch interactive wall to encourage multiple school bookings and return visits to the exhibition. Media program software and production costs are kept lower by using the publishing and content management capabilities of the MMaPS CMS.
Magian was responsible for all aspects of the integrated technical infrastructure design, hardware specification, multimedia design, production, implementation and commissioning of all media, and customisation of the Magian MMaPS CMS for the Inspiring Minds Exhibition. Magian also provided media management for the operational functionality of the exhibit media through an iPod Touch control program developed for the Inspiring Minds Exhibition. Wright staff are also able to change program content on the multi-touch wall and operationally manage start-up and shut-down of media and lighting each day in this way.
Media design includes four distinct touchscreen program types which include a touchscreen program to support the five historic mini-exhibits curated by Wright staff. Other touchscreen programs include a suite of touchscreens that show-case approximately forty contemporary scientists making important contributions to the scientific community, and a program which allows searchable access to the Museum's considerable database of information about black inventors and their inventions. Visitors are able to email downloadable content to themselves from this touchscreen. In addition Magian developed a touchscreen program for visitors to share their thoughts and opinions about science and their visit to the Museum by making their own video recordings. This recording station program allows visitors to email their videos home and to look at videos made by other visitors.
Inspiring Minds Exhibition
Charles H Wright Museum of African American History