One specific interactive element took 18th century European porcelain and dinnerware (a boring subject for many school age children) and turned it into an 18th century feast titled: The Art of Dining. The DIA used replica artefacts to create a virtual, and imaginatively realistic, dining experience. The children were able to sit around a black table and with the push of a button, a projector from above served them a multi-course meal. The children not only saw the dinnerware in use as it would have been in the 18th century, but they also witnessed the types of food the European elite were eating at the time. In addition to the dinnerware and the food, the children were presented with the suggestion of butlers or servants, who waited on them throughout the meal. The experience left many responding to the dinner, some with disgust at the idea of eating rabbit, others mimicking a French accent, while others just silently watched, taking it all in. Overall, it took a static and potentially lacklustre environment and turned it into a positive and fun interactive experience.
Essentially, the DIA took this:
… and made it into this!
Throughout the gallery, I noticed that the DIA has incorporated numerous lively elements to appeal to a younger audience. Many of the exhibits have a ‘push button’ presentation such as The Art of Dining. Another example is the Antiquity Silhouette, which is projected on a wall in the Greek section of the gallery. The life-size silhouettes demonstrate a slave mixing and serving wine to a more prominent man. The movie displays artefacts similar to those in the surrounding gallery and introduces the viewer to some of the artefacts original uses. Again, this video takes a typical object, such as a Greek pot, and turns it into something unique and exciting.
Looking at our upcoming Digital History exhibit, The Sky, I see a lot of similarities between the DIA's interactive elements, and the digital elements imagined by each group. For us, it was essential to take traditional topics and display the history, while also trying to entertain and engage people. Whether it is an interactive model, a SmartBoard presentation or a digital timeline, each group has achieved several interactive elements for the viewer.