Salil Parekh

Co-creating the Museum Experience
Interventions to engage viewers in a meaningful and engaging manner with the exhibits at the Sanskriti Museum in Ahmedabad
at National Institute of Design
in 2016

Sanskar Kendra, the city museum of Ahmedabad is shown little love from the residents of the city. Established in 1954, it once served as the campus for the National Institute of Design, and it’s fair to say the museum has done little to update the artefacts or perform repairs. Designed by Le Corbusier, the museum is one of the first of his “limitless museum designs”.

The lack of attention ultimately boils down to the disconnect between the viewers and artefacts. To find out what they actually think about the museum and its ageing artefacts we devised a fun activity. We handed each visitor a map of the museum and a label sheet with various booklets distributed near intriguing exhibits.

Encouraged to write whatever they thought about the exhibits the visitors quickly filled up the sheets with hundreds of stickers. This fun activity not only got them to think a little more deeply about the exhibits, but only gave the museum curator some valuable feedback to mull over.

Discussions between visitors on their notes

Notes from the visitors

The idea behind this interactive activity was to engage viewers and give them a chance to express their opinions on the exhibits. Most museums, especially older ones have a one-way interaction with the visitors, which can make it difficult for viewers to engage with the exhibits and the museum itself. We wanted to change this interaction, and give viewers a chance to express their opinions. It was wonderful and entertaining even to see what viewers thought of the exhibits. Although some comments were funny, we also had a few pointing out errors in the captions. By enabling this interaction, our intent was to get viewers to pay attention to the exhibits and see the museum through a new lens, where they had a voice, and an outlet to express themselves. We hoped that this would get viewers to actually see the museums and appreciate the exhibits for what they were and not suffer from museum fatigue.

Some notes were fun!

Reading notes from other visitors was far more interesting than the caption

Project Credits

Vaishnavi Kandwal Somya Devenda Ishan Mudgal Amreeta Banerjea