Exhibition Redesign Kickoff: Anchorage Museum

Image by Bernt Rostad on flickr, CC-BY-2.0 Image by Bernt Rostad on flickr, CC-BY-2.0

Challenge

The Anchorage Museum is a museum of art, history, and science located in the heart of Anchorage, Alaska. The museum has a collection of over 25,000 objects and is the home of the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center.

One of the museum’s flagship spaces, the Alaska Gallery, is a 15,000 square-foot gallery devoted to Alaska’s history. Featuring more than 1,000 objects from the Museum’s collection, the current installation represents 10,000 years of Alaska history.

The gallery was designed in the late-1980s, and has not been updated since then. The Museum has begun a planning process to redesign and reinstall the gallery, with a target completion date of 2017. The new space will feature up-to-date research, hands-on exhibits, and interpretive multimedia that represent the environment, culture, and diversity of Alaska’s history.

To kick-off the redesign of the Alaska Gallery, the museum hired Designing Insights to develop and lead an immersive design thinking experience to better understand visitors’ connection with and understanding of the history of Alaska.

Approach

We produced a customized two-day design thinking experience to launch the Museum’s ambitious multi-year initiative. Staff from across the institution collaborated in multidisciplinary teams to conduct interviews with visitors and community members, and prototype and test new programs, exhibits, and multimedia installations. Kicking-off the redesign of the Alaska Gallery with design thinking grounded the project in visitor needs, established an iterative, collaborative process, and seeded initiatives for gathering visitor input during the exhibition redesign.

Project Team

Dana Mitroff Silvers
Molly Wilson