GLAMi nomination: Interactive History Timeline of American Wars
institution: Flying Heritage Collection
category: Exhibition Media or Experience
PLEASE NOTE: THE VIDEO CLIP FEATURING THIS INTERACTIVE STARTS AT 0:30 and ends at 01:30
“Why War: The Causes of Conflict” is a media-rich exhibit made up of a combination of engaging interactive media elements. The content itself explores the roots of military confrontations throughout our nation’s history. Dynamic, large-scale touch stations present interactive infographics; numerous stories are made up of historically-significant digital artifacts, photos, and archival films—challenging visitors to shift their perceptions about war and what causes them.
An interpretive interactive installation sits in the center of the exhibit, and acts as the exhibit’s primary content delivery method.
This enormous interactive wall presents a timeline of what causes and results from conflict—through the lens of eight wars that America has participated in. Conflict is examined through the inciting factors, key figures, technology, and pop culture to demonstrate the common causes (and components) of war.
The wall experience encourages visitors to physically move horizontally across the installation, from one station to another—and following the content theme that they are most interested in. This strategy was utilized in order to reinforce similarities between conflicts (and an awareness of the differences as well), but moreover caters to the interests of diverse visitor profiles and how they want to learn.
The exhibit design and technology team spent extensive time prototyping and testing user interfaces to optimize usability, but also to support successful ergonomics and accessibility to the wall’s content. The multi-station, coordinated attract mode demonstrates the up-and-down swiping for content category access, and the left-to-right-swiping for subcategory story access. Meanwhile, when visitors begin to touch a user station, adjacent stations will follow their vertical movement as to reinforce the fact that content categories can be explored in a horizontal manner from station-to-station.
Content development strategies were directed at supporting a wide audience (from middle-school to seniors)—but with some special features to encourage and help school groups visiting the exhibit. Even though each station is set to a single war (arranged chronologically), the “Wars” menu within the interface allows a station to move to any war within the larger set. This feature allows a teacher to focus a school group on one war across all stations simultaneously, if desired.
Why War’s engaging interactives let families, community groups, and school classes choose how they want to explore this complex topic.
Wars are not random events; recurring risk factors combine to spark conflict. By exploring the nature of war and the introduction of nuclear weaponry, we ask the question: Are we safer now than ever before?