Derby Museums, an independent trust and organisation providing museums and arts service in Derby, wanted to inspire visitors to creatively and emotionally respond to their new gallery exhibit ‘Notice Nature Feel Joy’. Among the platforms chosen to instigate interactive user engagement? One of our electronic paper displays!
And while we’re no strangers to using e-ink in museums to make exhibitions more informative and interesting, we have to admit that DM Nature Gallery’s idea of displaying pictures visitors take of themselves wearing animal teeth masks is simply ingenious.
From British birds to tropical insects and mammals from the Australian outback, the new Derby nature collection encourages visitors to interpret and engage with the items on show, be it through a soundscape of nightingale sounds, magnifiers to scrutinise fossils, birds’ eggs, shells and beetles up close, or a touch screen asking how connected to nature you feel. This interaction is made even more unique by the fact that visitors hand a hand in selecting the featured specimens from the earliest stages of planning the exhibit.
And it was in the starting phase of the project already that strong emotional responses to some of the items on display became clear, explained Andrea Hadley-Johnson, the creative lead of the exhibition, fascinating the curators and leading them to wonder how to subtly capture these reactions.
When work on the gallery’s skulls, skeletons and teeth specimens began, an idea was born: hand-made transparent masks featuring animal teeth that would allow visitors to take ‘teeth selfies’ to be displayed as part of the exhibition.
To display the amazing selfies, curators of the Nature Gallery decided to create a sort of ‘digital wallpaper’ and turned to our 6’’ electronic paper DIY kit to help realize the idea.
The easy mounting of the light e-ink tablet (all it takes is a couple of velcro strips, plus - no wires!), its robustness, the fact that it is dust and water proof, and electronic paper’s amazing battery life proved ideally suited to the gallery’s needs, and after a period of testing the innovative project was good to go, and the screen turned into an e-picture frame.
Through a simple browser app for accessing tweets, the e-paper digital sign was now able to display the images that ‘Notice Nature Feel Joy’ visitors took of themselves holding the teeth masks. If the image is posted on Twitter and includes the handle @DMNature and the tag #teeth, the e-frame will capture it via Wi-Fi and display it for the gallery to see.
Should no new tweets be posted for a while, the screen of the electronic paper display will refresh and go into slideshow mode, showing older images containing the necessary tags.
‘Notice Nature Feel Joy’ officially opened its doors on 28 March 2015. And we for one cannot think of a better way of getting in touch with the natural world all around us. We simply love it!
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