Idaho State Museum

August 6, 2019 Jenn Petersen

Idaho State Museum sets the visitor experience alight with an award-winning show-stopping recreation of the past

Boise, Idaho

CHALLENGE

The Idaho State Museum closed its doors for four years to totally rethink the way it could tell the State’s history. Idaho is a big state, with many stories to tell and a history with massive WOW moments. The team recognized that the traditional ‘stop, walk and read’ museum was no longer appropriate. They had to take a different approach — one that would engage the audience and create a memorable experience that could bring the past to life.

That was quite a challenge when it came to recreating major events like the mining boom or one of the most devastating forest fires in US history. How do you help visitors navigate the wilderness or understand the culture of the Native American tribes? How to explain the profound relationship between the land and the people who shaped it over time? The challenge was to make that story relevant to the digital generation.

Visitors enjoy the tranquillity of the forest till suddenly they’re surrounded by blazing trees in a truly immersive 4D experience.

SOLUTION

Forty six individual multimedia exhibits engage the audience with innovative storytelling solutions. Visitors connect to a multimedia map and river guiding them through the experience. They recreate real mining explosions, hear voices from the past round a virtual campfire or ride a bike through historic neighborhoods. And the showstopper, an immersive 4D wraparound recreation of the ‘Big Burn’ that turns the gallery into a burning forest.

KEY TAKEAWAY

The Idaho State Museum has been transformed into a fun, interactive experience where people of all ages and backgrounds can explore the story of Idaho. The museum’s efforts have been recognized with a prestigious MUSE award for the Big Burn exhibit. MUSE awards are presented to institutions that enhance the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) experience and engage audiences with useful and innovative digital programs and services.

"Soon after entering, you’ll also be greeted by a huge multimedia map of Idaho, inviting you to visit a number of locations. You’ll touch your finger to a number of places, and something special will pop up. Up next, you’ll enter our Origins exhibit, and that begins our connection to the land. It’s a big ‘wow.’" - Janet Gillmore, Executive Director, Idaho State History Society

Download a full version of this project profile here.

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