Auckland War Memorial Museum Medals Collection Digital Installation

Who we worked with:
Auckland War Memorial Museum
What we did:

Brand Strategy UX Design Build

Check it out:
Visit Auckland Museum

Medals Collection digital installation for Auckland Museum

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is the holder of an extensive military medal collection of over 3,500 medals dating from the Napoleonic Wars through to the present day. Previously only a fraction of the collection was on public display, with the rest stored in an off limits armoury.

We collaborated with the Museum’s exhibition & curatorial teams to envisage a new type of gallery experience, with the entire medal collection visible en masse, centred around three large scale interconnected digital interactives.

An overarching theme of 'behind every medal is a story' was developed & became the governing principle for the project.

To achieve this, we needed to design a space that enabled remembrance & reflection of the New Zealand military experience through enquiry. The digital experience needed to be one of rich visceral storytelling. The interfaces needed be intuitive, engaging and insightful.

We delivered a total of three interconnected digital interactive experiences, including a 8m video wall supported by a central 65” touchscreen console. A series of discovery kiosks placed around the physical medal collection draws enabled visitors to search for medals by type, relationship, geography or recipient, and locate the physical medal within the draws.

The visual design concepts were tested vigorously with users & assessed in the physical museum environment, and refined based on feedback & the evolving data structures available via the Museum’s collection management system.

To address visual inconsistency & poor quality archival medal image assets, over 100 medals were curated, art directed & photographed beautifully in ultra-high resolution for infusion into a rich 3m high digital video wall display.

The resulting exhibition has been a huge success and there have been multiple examples of visitors discovering familial connections with the medals collection through the interactive tools provided.


Behind the scenes

Hear about the importance of this project and the absolute need to honour the people behind the medals, directly from the Auckland War Memorial Museum exhibition design and curatorial team.

Integrated digital experience

Multiple digital installations combine to delivery a comprehensively integrated experience. A 65" touchscreen console drives a stunning 8m video wall featuring curated hyper-def imagery & emotive motion. graphics. This is supported by a series of discovery kiosks guiding users to the physical medals in the collection.

Behind every medal is a story

This overarching theme became the governing principle for the entire project. This central message was perhaps best captured in the large scale, visually stunning motion graphics that took over the 8m video wall when not in use, serving as an attractor to draw people into the physical space.

Touch first interaction

A permanently mounted 65" touchscreen console acts as the centerpoint of the installation space, allowing users to explore both the entire collection en masse and the human story behind the medals.

A collective experience

When a visitor is interacting with the central console, the 8m video wall acts as a second screen in support of the console itself. This large scale split screen approach provides for shared experiences as people interact with the collection on their own personal journeys.

Beautifully curated imagery

Even without the human stories behind them, military medals are intricately detailed & beautiful objects in and of themselves. In order to present the medals in crystal clear detail on the 8m video wall, over 100 medals were digitally photographed at multiple angles allowing the minute details to be displayed at a scale not previously possible.

“This comprehensive piece of work — spanning large and small screens — forms the centrepiece of an associated exhibition and makes a strong case for sweating every detail in bringing a collection of artefacts to life. More of this type of endeavour in the GLAM sector, please!”

New Zealand Best Design Awards Judges in awarding a Gold Pin in the Interactive Applications category

Discovery and exploration

The unsung hero of the installation was the series of interconnected touchscreen discovery kiosks situated around the physical space, enabling visitors to explore the medals by type, relationship, geography or recipient, and then locate the physical medal within the collection draws.

“The medals interactives developed by NV Interactive enable visitors to inspect and explore our medals collections in unprecedented detail. They are able to examine the physical objects in ways that traditional display doesn’t allow, and in turn unlock the wealth of stories and people behind these taonga. The experience is sleek and intuitive, yet provides a great depth of information.”

Rachael Davies Head of Content and Interpretation, Auckland War Memorial Museum