April 18, 2012

The Incidental Museum (PART 3)

Ready-Made Design Solutions

Exhibition designers spend a great deal of time creating ways to engage people with a subject, expose them to ideas, or provide them access to exceptional places or things. Sometimes, it is interesting to look at ways design has responded to similar problems outside the museum context. “Ready-made” design solutions, when applied to the museum context, not only can offer novel solutions, they can also begin to imply an entirely different kind of museum.

Ready-made design solution (MWB)


Since the average US citizen spends approximately an hour and a half in their car each day it might be worth considering what museums could offer an audience that currently is barraged with billboards, street signs, bumper stickers, GPS instructions and talk radio. The opportunities that lie just inside the windshield are infinite for exhibition designers and developers. Considering the automobile as an informal learning devise we can approach the world as an assemblage of artifacts and specimens, as a collection relating to every science imaginable.

Most museums have missions that address the world beyond the museum walls, yet only on occasion ask visitors to travel outside them. Why not consider engaging us on our next road trip, or during our everyday commute? Here are a few relatively new developments involving the auto industry that beg for an intelligent application.


Below is a simulation of a technology that designers and engineers at Toyota Motors Europe and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design are imagining passengers using in the near future.


Combining GPS and audio tour technology the GyPSy Guide is currently available for use in the Canadian Rockies and western Canada on popular drive-touring routes.

The automobile still stands as a symbol of freedom and exploration. Building on these themes, an expanding variety of location aware, data management and content delivery tools continue to be integrated. These features and the automobile's role in transporting us to exceptional places or things makes it an ideal mobile interface with the world at large. It is not difficult to imagine a series of museum produced "road trips" designed for the curious commuter or weekend cruiser.


MWB, 2012

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