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Sensing History
How might we create the multisensory opportunities to engage in a sense of discovery with storytelling through museum artifacts?

Project Details

  • Date: September 2015
  • Client: Research Project, Ryerson University

Cultural museums today face interesting challenges: the preservation of artifacts, and the curation of experiences. With about 10% of artifacts ever on display, the impact of digital media has opened up the opportunities for digitization to allow for an open access to artifact collections, and the introduction of digital experiences.

In response to the visual nature of museums, this prototype exhibition aimed to use DIY methods of physical computing to create interactive reproductions of artifacts, that revealed digital stories and content upon discovery. Sensory-based interactions -- smells released upon opening an object, holding an object for an extended period of time, holding and revealing an audio-based experience -- allowed visitors to use all of their senses to engage with artifact-specific stories and knowledge.


Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History


Design & Development

Three prototypes were developed over the course of the project, illustrating various artifact stories through engaging multisensory responses. I worked alongside a multi-modal educational researcher, Melanie McBride, to develop natural scents that were revealed as part of the interactions. 3D printing was also utilized to add tactile interactives, using simple physical computing elements to reveal imagery and text based on where users were touching the artifact reproductions.


Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Sensing History

Speaking as part of a panel on multisensory exhibits, at the Museums and the Web Conference in Los Angeles, 2016.