Letting users change the future

  • PROJECT
  • Science of Survival Interactive Exhibition
  • CLIENT
  • Science Museum
  • PROJECT
  • Science of Survival Interactive Exhibition
  • CLIENT
  • Science Museum

We developed an interactive exhibition for the Science Museum to engage and inform children about climate change and its impact on the future of the planet.

The first task was to challenge common convention of the topic in order to overcome existing preconceptions and engage the audience. This meant our visual style veered away from using traditional recycled materials like cardboard, repurposed second hand objects or artisanal rustic typography. instead we created a pop neon palette on glossy reflective black with vibrant gaming style type and a set of cartoon character narrators - but still made using sustainable or recycled materials.

Once we had attracted visitors in, we wanted to get them to understand the consequences of their actions and get them involved. To do this we created a series of challenges and games; 'Build a vehicle', 'Design your own home' or 'Create the food of the future'. Each one of the mini games was easy to use and fun to play, with a reward at the end when you see your creation come to life and it get reviewed by two of the exhibitions characters.

In order to play any of these games, each user needed to touch their RFID embedded entry pass onto a brightly lit RFID reader. This visual and gestural signal gave users an easy way into each game and the ability to recognise new games to play within the space. As each card had a unique user ID, it also gave us a record of all the choices each user made in each game.

The Finale of the exhibition is “Future City." Here the solutions that the individual visitor has adopted throughout the exhibition are collected and the resulting “Future City" is displayed, showing the kind of neighbourhood that can be expected in 2050.

So if a user built a petrol engined car in the vehicle section, drilling rigs and oil refineries feature prominently. If processed food was chosen, factory farming buildings abound and so on. Even though we tested along the way with different kinds of prototypes, seeing kids go back in and do challenges over again now that they were armed with this new information was a joy.

Having a centrally stored database for all user interactions meant that not only did each user get a unique exhibition experience, but the Science Museum could see how each exhibit was used. This enabled them to tweak the functionality of the exhibits in real time, i.e. how many times each user could play any game, the duration of games etc. Once the exhibition had been running for a while, we were able to pull interesting data stats on how it had been used in the different locations it toured to, giving the Science Museum an ever changing overview of an exhibition in constant change.


The results

Over 100,000 visitors to London and New York with many thousands more worldwide

Over 100,000 visitors to London and New York with many thousands more worldwide

Dual build touring exhibition launched simultaneously in London and New York before traveling to Singapore, Dubai and Europe

Dual build touring exhibition launched simultaneously in London and New York before traveling to Singapore, Dubai and Europe

“A remarkable exhibition'” Dr Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group

“A remarkable exhibition'” Dr Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group