From cutting-edge karaoke to interactive chair mazes, students envision museum exhibitions of the future.

On February 13, DesignPrep students met for their final of four sessions with Angela Chen and Erika Tarte, professional interaction and graphic designers from the firm Local Projects, to present their ideas developed over the prior three weeks. Inspired by works in Cooper-Hewitt’s online collection, the teen designers were assigned to create prototype interactive exhibitions. Tarte further challenged them to “allow people to connect with each other and people outside the museum with the object as a prompt.”

The students drew various characteristics from collection works to produce their designs. A carpet designed for Radio City Music Hall inspired a design project based on music and performance. Armor inspired an activity featuring patterns and textiles. A serendipitous stumble in front of the projected image of clothes helped one group realize that it is more fun explore fashion history by becoming the mannequins themselves and serving as the canvas for the projected image. (To see this project demonstrated, read DesignPrep Scholar Othilla Wlodarcyk's blog.)

As the teens prepared to present their prototypes, storyboards came together in the fruition of the design process. Throughout the process, many discussed the difficulties but ultimate positivity of working in teams. Attempts to combine all team members’ ideas into one design failed and forced the young designers to think critically about problem solving, ultimately editing into a potentially feasible exhibition. The finalized prototype had to be that which met the criteria best, an important lesson in design.

Social media reigned supreme in the prototypical interactive landscape, as every proposal offered something to upload to online networks (Facepinstagram or whatever). The need to share museum-going experiences proved integral to the teens’ idea behind interactivity and engagement with museum objects. Chen commented: “A social object is a way of turning an object into a conversation piece.” 

Learn about the experience from a student's perspective by reading Design Prep Scholar Othilla Wlodarcyk's blog.

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