Bustling Atlanta is no stranger to hosting fantastic conferences. Upon learning that this year’s American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo was taking place in my backyard, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge of effective museum design.
I began my adventure into the world of museums with confidence. My role on a design team is to plan and create a seamless acoustical experience and I know how to create quality acoustics for an exhibit space and I thought I knew all about museum design. In a single day, a visit to the AAM MuseumExpo revealed my naiveté.
As I entered the exhibit floor, expecting to see architects, designers, and case providers, I was surprised by exhibits for museums themselves, traveling exhibitions, experts in shipping art, realistic tree and landscape fabricators, interactive media and games, audio tours, museum store assistance, and membership card designers. It really made me think about the needs of the museum beyond the physical building our design team creates.
While my individual role is important to the success of a project, it is imperative to consider how all pieces of museum design assimilate. The level of experience satisfaction a visitor feels is shaped by many factors from:
Designers and owners must approach projects with an cohesive, integrated vision.
The conference sessions were engaging and highlighted the level of consideration and detail that museum designers must take. While I’ve seen exhibit design narratives and design documents, I hadn’t fully acknowledged the depth of planning that is crucial to creating the optimal display through placement, timing and aesthetics. In future posts, I will reflect on a few of the sessions I attended, however my key takeaways for effective museum design include:
My days of mindlessly wandering through an exhibit are a thing of the past. In a single day, I gained a new appreciation for a museum visit, recognition of the effort required to construct a pleasing display, and a greater awareness of how I, as an acoustician, can better collaborate with the design team to create an exceptional museum.