Mechanics of Wonderment

Team: Dr. Kevin Walker (RCA), Suzy Hogg (Design Consultant), Ollie Palmer (UCL), Zafeirenia Brokalaki (KCL).

Mechanics of Wonderment is one of two project under the Design for Enhanced Exhibitions strand of the Design with Heritage projects to receive funding, following the Sandpit Event on February 27th 2013.

The movement of visitors through museums is of interest for both logistical and curatorial reasons. The Mechanics of Wonderment project proposes that it may be possible to subtly manipulate observer movement through museums and galleries. There are two ways in which this is conceived as of potential use in museum design/curation. The first is the possibility that different routes within an exhibition may be able to present varying narrative experiences. The second is that it may be possible to redistribute visitors, strategic direction to tackle congestion within museums.

The stories of objects exhibited in museums are often of much greater depth than can be expressed within a traditional gallery context. A museum capable of offering differing narratives from its collection at different times, may offer not only greater variety of experiences but greater depth of information about the object within it.

The investigation with explore possible approaches to the subtle manipulating visitor behaviour. in parallel with these investigations the research project will explore the implications and possible applications of such approaches at various museum scales.