The Science History Institute

July 19, 2019 Jenn Petersen

Technology and storytelling come together to engage and inspire scientists and the community.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The Science History Institute has moved from its initial focus on the history of chemistry to a broader program encompassing life sciences and biotechnology. The Institute also aims to attract a wider audience while retaining its role as a world-class center for scholars, historians, and researchers. However, much of the display material was based on outdated technology with limited appeal to a younger tech-savvy audience. A more engaging environment was essential.

The Institute team wanted to create a more interactive experience — based on scientific principles, but approachable, relevant and enticing to all visitors. The aim, to present the history and relevance of science in fun, and engaging way by fusing technology with storytelling. It should give visitors a new perspective on scientific achievement. Excite them with intriguing facts and encourage them to take a deeper dive on a journey of discovery into the ‘weird and wonderful history of science.’ 

The massive screen creates generative and customizable images that evolve over a 24-hour cycle.


A 2-story tall media wall delivers the WOW factor as visitors enter the museum. Eight high-definition displays capture visitors’ attention with stunning visuals and mind-blowing scientific facts. The journey continues on an interactive table. Visitors place 3D-printed models of everyday objects on the surface of the table. That reveals motion graphics displaying more fascinating facts and historical information about the science and history behind the object.


The Institute is now a ‘must visit’ destination for the community as well as scientists and academics. Visiting scientists comment that the displays are accessible without dumbing down the science. The interactive multimedia experience is helping build an understanding of the contribution science has made to everyday life. For children, technology is creating a level of excitement and interest that could inspire scientists of the future.

"With Electrosonic and Potion Design, we developed our Object Explorer which gives visitors a chance to have a hands-on experience with objects that affect our daily lives such as the LED bulb, vaccines, and the lead pipe. So we talk about how all of these technologies came to be and how they affect us." - Christy Schneider, Exhibition Project Manager, Science History Institute

Download a copy of the project profile here.

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