Immersive Experiences

To really get a feel for what an immersive experience is, Sally took our group to a number of museums in Hull’s old town. Whilst going around the museums, she stopped us in different rooms where we discussed what was good about each part, and what needed improvement in order for it to become ‘immersive’- the museum that needed the most work done to it in order for it to be an immersive experience was the William Wilberforce Museum, which was not very interesting and was overloaded with information rather than other educational outlets that could have been used. For example, the character of Wilberforce House has been completely removed, and it could have been a great tool to place the visitors into a setting that wouldn’t be out of place at the time William Wilberforce was alive. Another thing that we all picked up on was the fact that the methods of learning were not engaging; there was too much text and not enough images/replicas for the people to look at and interact with. A suggestion that was made was to include interactivity. Each room should have a technology information patch where people can go and scan their phones/tablets to receive information this way. As well as this, they could also include a map of the museum so that the experience can be more interesting and engaging to children.

In the Street Life Museum next door, the experience was much more fun, with replicas and exhibits for the people to see and even experience for themselves. One thing that stands out as a great immersive device was the horse and carriage simulator, where visitors can sit in an actual carriage and experience the movement of what it would have been like a hundred+ years ago, this was one of a few sections of the museum to also use sound to immerse the public completely in the experience. The Street Life Museum also has replica sweet shops, chemists, and butchers etc. which are engaging already, but an improvement to this area of the museum would be sounds and smells, which would immerse the general public even more.

The last museum that we visited was the History Museum. This museum was similar to the Street Life Museum in terms of how immersive it was. Replicas were used so that the experience was more real and about much more about looking rather than reading, although that was an option. The main note taken away from going to all of these museums is how all of them can be brought more into the technological aspects of immersing their customers; giving the visitors an educational tour using all of the informative mediums (sight, sound, video, touch, experiences with replicas etc.) to create an experience that gives a lasting impression on the public and also educates them on the museum subjects.