Science museums are notorious for combining education and experimentation with many hands-on exhibits. UMU, University Museum Utrecht in the Netherlands is no different. This newly-opened, family-oriented museum is made for curious minds.
Fed by science and its experiments, YIPP conceptualised, designed and executed a series of fun-for-all interactives throughout the museum. One of our most ambitious projects to date, UMU features no less than 5 different themes with multi-media installations, games, and experiments that make visitors feel like researchers.
The science of science
The museum focuses on five different ways researchers and scientists do their work. From the human body to the animal world and from the earth to social questions, many topics are discussed. With each theme you will start researching and experimenting. At UMU you will become a researcher!
Stand face to face with a tree of monkeys as part of the theme ‘Look at us animals’. Learn how to observe like a scientist by studying monkey business. Are they being mean or kind to get what they want? Touchscreens guide you through the various scenarios.
More hands-on is the exhibit ‘Drawing with Bleuland’. This 18th century physician was the only one in his time to use anatomical drawings in his publications. So how did he go about it, and can you continue his legacy?
From monkey business to crowd control
How do researchers study people and society? The theme ‘Human data’ features multiple interactives to help visitors understand and experiment themselves.
Help manage the busy city through crowd simulations. Measure people’s speed, evasive movements and overall behaviour by analysing each other's movements on video.
How about using source material like UMU’s Oscar Gelderblom? Together, you’ll research old accounting books and create an image of the people who used them. How did people spend their money? And what were their hopes and dreams?
The interactive YOUth features three stations that allow you to test yourself. How good is your self-control, are you easily distracted and influenced, and can you recognise emotions? These questions and more are part of a large research project to know more about children’s development.
Like many other exhibits in the museum, YOUth is designed as a multi-player game, that way families can participate together!
Treasures at sea
If ancient species are more your thing, the exhibitions ‘Searching in the sand’ and ‘Drilling at sea’ will fit the bill.
The first is based on research by 19th century professor Harting and how the Dutch coastline may have looked 120.000 years ago based on found fossils and shells. An interactive table combines projections and animations with physical actions, guiding visitors through the research.
Where Harting’s research contained many happy accidents, geologist Prof. dr. Lucas Lourens focuses his work on specific samples. Together, you will research drill core samples to determine past climates. Then go a level deeper with microscopic research into single-cell fossils.
To measure is to know
Looking for an even more interactive experience? The experiment space allows you to perform tests according to variables like a proper researcher. Taking a ramp and marbles as the starting point, how will making it steeper or higher affect how the marbles fall? And does a feather fall quicker or slower if you adjust the air pressure?
Budding doctors and surgeons will eat their heart out in the ‘uitdokteren’ space, which features experiments like the heart-lung machine. Figure out how the pieces fit together and see the blood and oxygen start to pump around through projections.
In it together
From its initial conception, the museum invited YIPP as interactive designers to be part of the thought process. Designs were made and tested with a wide range of visitors. Production and installation was also done by YIPP. All-in-all this project highlights what can be achieved by true collaboration from an early phase.
The interactives we designed are our favourite kind; a crossover between physical and digital. That makes for a real hands-on experience.
Visitors will leave excited and inspired.
Want to know more about this project or have a similar project in mind that we can help you with? Get in touch with Wouter van der Zouwe (email@example.com).