The Secret Life of Objects, an Interactive Map of Finnish Design

Topic: Culture Subtopic: General

Case Study

of an Exhibit

by Mariana Salgado

Published on July 01, 2008, Modified on November 23, 2013

  • Description and goals

    The Secret Life of Objects, an Interactive Map of Finnish Design is a selection of objects from the collections dating from 1874 to 2008 on show in the Design Museum. In the interactive map visitors can give their comments about the objects and enjoy comments that were left by other visitors.

    We organized workshops in which teenagers and children were invited to work with design objects using music, poetry, photography and drawing. Audio-visual materials gathered in the workshops are accessible in the exhibition and on-line through the interactive map and the blog. We also organized one workshop inviting the museum staff to comment. These comments worked as triggers of visitors’ contributions. They were the pre-prepared material that was in the interactive map before the exhibition started.

    Visitors can comment on the historical material related to the objects, on the material coming from the workshops, on the objects of the exhibition, on other visitors’ comments, on the exhibition as a whole, and on the future design. Text comments left through the stand were printed and placed near the design objects.

    This project is making the museum collection accessible to new audiences (children, teenagers, and virtual communities), to different moments (after, during and before the visit), to linguistic minorities (written material in Swedish, English and Finnish) and to different perspectives and vocabularies (visitors’ and museum staff’s). In parallel it is is improving access by showing different materials (videos, poems, music and drawings) coming from museum’s resources (workshops). All these possibilities allow people with different abilities to engage with the visit.

    For making this interactive map we have used an open source software developed in Systems of Representation Research Group: ImaNote. http://imanote.uiah.fi/

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