06 AN ARCHIVE OF RISD MUSEUM
The traditional role of a museum is to collect works of art from a variety of sources, preserve works of art through careful conservation, and interpret works of art through exhibitions, educational programs, and publications. When people discuss museums, the focus is often on the collections, with little attention paid to other aspects of the museum experience such as its history, curatorial decisions, furniture placement, exhibition design, and the demographics of visitors.
The RISD Museum archive aims to change this by breaking visitors' habits and helping them appreciate the museum itself, not just its collection. The museum is a complex entity, made up of many different elements that come together to create a unique and inspiring experience for visitors. From the history of Museum buildings to the details of how each gallery is designed and analyzed, every aspect of the museum contributes to its magic and helps visitors appreciate the beauty and wonder of the art world.
My group decided to focus on five aspects to re-display the museum: the visitors’ information, the Museum’s donors’ and the buildings’ history, the galleries’ lightning, the locations of benches, and the personal memories collected from visitors. The final product will be an album package in the museum’s building shape form.
The puzzle-like shape of the package adds a playful and interactive element to the museum experience. As visitors fold and unfold the package, they will gain a better sense of the layout, directions, and architectural shapes of the museum and its infrastructure. This adds a tactile and sensory dimension to the experience, enhancing visitors' understanding and appreciation of the museum's physical space.
The DVD included with the package contains a treasure trove of digital files, including lighting data, visitor information, and interactive maps of routes from different visitors through the museum. These files allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the museum experience and explore the exhibits with a different perspective.
In total we’ve collected 13 visitors, and selected 6 to display.
Suprisingly, older people tend to visit the museum very thorough, and spent more time on each artwork than young people.
I have never relized that so many visitors were either graduate or teach from RISD.
To capture the essence of each gallery's lighting, we employed a cutting-edge data visualization technique.
Using a light measurement tool on our phones, we gathered precise data on the light levels in each gallery of the museum. We then converted the light measurements into a visual representation, using the gray value and numbers of RGB. This allowed us to discern differences in lighting, whether intentional or altered by the environment, and enabled visitors to appreciate the deliberate design choices made by the curation team.
This is one side of the unfolded view:
Visitors can explore the museum's rich history, learn about its donors, and discover the labyrinthic architectural shapes of the museum's interconnected buildings.
The other side is about the location, direction, and forms of benches located in different gallery rooms.
Due to technical and printing issues, the final presentation is currently available only on a computer with a DVD player. In the future, we aim to incorporate even more data and conduct a systematic analysis of visitors and their preferred routes. Instead of a small DVD package, we envision a large installation within the RISD Museum itself, making it a showcase of the museum inside the museum. This would allow visitors to fully engage with the rich content and experience the museum's unique features in an even more immersive and interactive way.