Sensing context: Reflexive design principles for intersensory museum interactions

Paper
Daniel Harley, Ryerson University, Canada, Melanie McBride, York University, Canada, Jean Ho Chu, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, Jamie Kwan, Ryerson University, Canada, Jason Nolan, Ryerson University, Canada, Ali Mazalek, Georgia Tech & Ryerson University, Canada

Published paper: Sensing context: Reflexive design principles for intersensory museum interactions

Artifacts in cultural history museums are typically enclosed in glass displays, decontextualized from their social and cultural origins, resulting in a “look, but don’t touch” encounter. With reference to perspectives and counter-perspectives of the “multisensory museum” (Levent & Pascual-Leone, 2014), this paper describes our development of experimental interactive prototypes based on early sixteenth-century boxwood prayer-nuts. Our work aims to engage the historical, social, and cultural contexts through sensory interactions involving smell, touch, and sound, with visual and aural feedback. Given the neglect of smell from many museum encounters, we draw special attention to our conceptualization, design, and implementation of a novel smell interaction. Building on these experiences, we offer an “intersensory” intervention of the multisensory paradigm through our considerations for meaningful, contextual, and inclusive design with the senses.

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