The museum’s challenge to the design team was to create an exhibit that would celebrate this simple, modest artifact, while also helping contemporary visitors connect to the ground-breaking words penned on its surface. The client and the exhibit designers asked us to create an immersive digital experience that would accomplish these goals without overwhelming the object itself.
We used six tall, thin, media blades to surround visitors with an immersive audio visual collage. The six-minute experience is broken into chapters to draw attention to specific ideas from Thoreau’s writing, including his love of nature and uncompromising ethical values. Each chapter’s tone is set by a quote from his work and interlaced with footage from Concord’s natural surroundings and abstracted imagery. Visitors hear sounds such as pen on paper, wind among branches, bird calls, intermingled with a sparse musical score, sometimes dissonant, including the haunting sounds of an aeolian harp like that used by Thoreau in his cabin at Walden Pond.
The result is a meditative space that encourages reflection, inspired by the ideas and values of this famous Concord resident.