As one of the assignment for my museum collab class, I have to visit the Palais de la découverte and investigate on their digital tools and my experience with them.
I was wandering on their ground floor randomly, taking note of the QR code sticking around the museum (with instructions in French where I was figuring out how to engage with the experience they try to portray), a big red hoarding attracted me.
Ahhh so it was an exhibition about Physics. particles… hmmm…
From the entrance, there were some “wow” installation of light rays and particles that one usually see in a science museum. There was a panel where one could watch particle and a screen showing a live version of it next to the panel. Then I was led to a room with chalk scribbled partitions.
It is very interesting on the items they display in this area. Apart from the physical objects (machines, tubes), they display the champagne where Robert Brout, François Englert and Peter Higgs used to celebrate the night before the launch of their hypothesis!
One of the installations intrigued me was this partition with a very nice touch for visually impaired visitors to visualise the picture hung on the wall.
There was some constant loud sound from the other side of the wall.
Before I knew what was going on, there was this panel explaining a video would be shown within certain minutes, and it would give visitors an idea to understand the exhibition.
At that moment, I felt like I am at a theme park, ready to enter to a tunnel or moving carriage of Star Trek or Back To The Future.
Get… set… Ready… GO!
It was a very interesting experience as the introduction video in this room was explaining the history and relation of CERN, Higgs boson and beam in English (with English and French subtitles) and also special directory for hearing impaired visitors. The plot was very dramatic as it involves a scientist, a PHD student, 2 CERN workers explaining perspective from different parties in a very casual and occasionally funny dialogues. It also intrigued me that they specifically display the beam tube as part of the introduction video. I actually went to look at it after watching the video.
After the video is finished, visitors are then invited to exit on the left (with light lit up) and a great sound effect like leading them to CERN, miles and miles underneath the ground.
I personally love the visual and sound effect as they really got me excited about the exhibition!
The first room the visitor would see is an interactive panorama of of CERN, where it is controlled by either a mouse or mousePad.
The sound track/music used is very special with an interesting industrial and mechanical sound too.
Further with the journey at Collisionneur, they set it as the laboratories at CERN with life-size projected CERN workers doing different explanations. Apart from life-sized projection, there were dialogues or conversations from CERN workers playing from phone booth or radio set.
There was a room where it showed a super cool animation of the beam, LHC, and makes visitors feel like they are diving into the CERN tunnel.
I find this room interesting as it follows back to the flow of one of the core CERN workers from the introduction video, where it showed a projection of where she has been sleeping in her lab, and how she discovered the Higgs boson. I like it because when the projection showed her discovered the Higgs boson, the screen of the computer next to it was actually showing a related animation where it would make visitor feels like they are going through the same experience as the worker.
There is a cute French animation using projection mapping at the end of the exhibition to round everything up.
All the time when I was at the exhibition, there was an old lady at her age of 70s touring around with me. The technology used here are simple to be interactive with and so to easily engaged and I think the design covered a wide age range here. One of my technological concern was the QR code. They were everywhere but it might be nice if the museum provide an app or guide for us to download an official QR code reader as we enter the museum (even when we were purchasing ticket) so visitors could enhance the experience the museum was trying to portray.
As a visual merchandiser and set designer, I really enjoy the whole experience from Collisionnseur. Apart from the QR code which I did not get access to (not because I do not have a smartphone to get access to it but I do not want to download an app to try to use it), I really like the use of technology in Collisionneur, they use every technology appropriately where it definitely makes a clueless visitor engage in it, regardless the language barrier, I did actually google more about it when I got home. Apart from the visual effect, the sound played an important role as well. Although it occasionally makes me feel disturbed but all in all they make me dives into the mood. I was also super excited after going to this exhibition as it was by far the best and most unexpected museum experience I ever had.