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Imagining the Omnimuseum

Imagine a truly interactive, ubiquitous presence, able to engage us in the historical, cultural or scientific wonder of whatever happens to be in front of us? Imagine the Omnimuseum; a museum of everything.

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Miniature Tourism

This is undoubtedly something many of us have played with; placing a scale figure among full size objects and watching those objects become places to inhabit. And in so doing, we embark on a form of travel, a way of exploring parts of the world we’ve never been to.

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Mobility and the Immaculate Warehouse

With mobile communication technology becoming ever more pervasive it follows that the current fixed model for museum exhibitry could be superseded by a mobile one. Museums will always be anchored in real things and the static location of collections (if only for conservation reasons) will likely hold fast, but, ways of interpreting the collections and engaging visitors could become something more ethereal, something that is temporary and personal rather than permanent and impersonal.

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The Incidental Museum (parts 1 & 2)

When we look up at the starlit sky we often don’t think of the light we see as separate from the star itself. Its easy to forget that each point of light is of a different age, not because of how old the star is, but because of the time it takes for its light to reach our eyes. The sky twinkles with events from distinctly different time periods, simultaneously.

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The Incidental Museum (part 3)

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.

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Ready-made design solution (MWB)

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Break This Exhibit

Knowledge and subversion are inextricably intertwined. Vehicles get safer by subjecting them to crash tests, architecture becomes more resilient by modeling natural disasters, and police are best at solving crimes when they can think like criminals. From simulating the fiery conditions of entering Earth’s atmosphere to studying the disintegration of pharmaceuticals in the digestive system, we are continually leveling an assault on our own products and structures in an effort to understand how the world works and how to best survive in it.

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Testing construction methods at the IBHS research center

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Exhibit Through the Gift Shop

 There is a growing tendency for non-museum environments, like shopping malls, to incorporate museum exhibition spaces (including zoos and aquariums) into their facilities. But, there has been little effort toward exploring the potential of infusing interpretation and informal learning opportunities into retail environments. Not simply by installing exhibits into adjacent spaces, but literally integrating content into the shopping experience.

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TRANSMEDIATION
 
This strategy of delivering content through a variety of methods and devices, designed to culminate into an understanding of, and engagement with a particular subject, idea or product is essentially what exhibition designers have been doing for years. An exhibition tells its story through a conglomeration of content delivery methods. What is different about transmediation is that its multilevel, multimodal approach escapes the boundaries of any single venue.

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The World is Already on Exhibit
Museums have been experimenting with augmentation like audio tours and mobile devices for years, but apps like Wikitude point to an eventual content saturation where the world itself can be considered an exhibition and we are all its curators.

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THE VISITOR: Modes of Tourism

The distinction between “tourist and traveler” plays an important role in finding ways of turning passive museum visitors into self-motivated, active explorers. I will touch on a broad range of existing “tourisms” that occupy different positions along the tourist/traveler axes and will suggest other “designed” and “non-designed” venues that offer models of participation and may inform the movement from passive to active engagement in museum exhibitions.

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THE NOVELTY OF THE REAL
 
Through an over saturation of media and our accelerating retreat into virtual landscapes, reality has gained an unprecedented novelty. But can reality now exist as anything other than an artifact or specimen?

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