National World War I Museum and Memorial

August 6, 2019 Jenn Petersen

Technology keeps the memory of soldiers’ sacrifice alive in a realistic moving way.

Kansas City, Missouri

CHALLENGE

To younger people of the current generation, the First World War may seem like ancient history. Moreover, for most visitors, World War 1 was something they had only read about in school textbooks or saw in Hollywood movies. The National World War 1 Museum had to go beyond that — to bring dry information and historical events to life. That makes technology even more valuable in shaping the story of what took place in those dramatic years.

The Museum team recognized that the exhibits and the technology would play an essential role in educating people, as well as commemorating the sacrifices made by millions. The experience had to be engaging to help visitors understand what conditions were like. The team also wanted to ensure a moving emotional involvement — something that would keep the soldiers’ memories alive in America’s official memorial to World War 1. They wanted technology that created a reaction.

Guests can use interactive tables to create their own propaganda posters so common during WWI.

SOLUTION

Technology takes visitors on an epic meaningful journey. They can experience the action from the soldiers’ perspective through a life-sized diorama and 100-foot wide panoramic screen. It truly recreates the barren landscape and reality of life in the trenches. Visitors get a hands-on feel for daily life on the front line. Interactive displays and simulations let them share and understand personal stories of courage, honor, and sacrifice.

KEY TAKEAWAY

The Museum uses technology to inspire thought, dialogue, and learning. It makes the experiences of the First World War meaningful and relevant for the present and future generations. By innovatively using technology, the Museum has been able to recreate experiences, events, and lessons that should not be consigned to history. More than two million visitors confirm the success of that approach since 2006.

"The screens and the technology bring the information to life. We have a lot of interactive elements at the Museum — you can see the learning that’s going on. We see children looking at a recreation of a trench or hearing audio recordings of soldiers talking about their experiences. When they turn away, you can see on their faces just how meaningful that is to them." - Mike Vietti,  - Director of Marketing, Communications & Guest Services, National World War I Museum & Memorial

Download a full version of this project profile here.

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