GSM Project delivers four large-scale immersive and interactive exhibitions as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations
Montreal, 3 July 2017 - What do the Canadian History Hall, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, the Bank of Canada Museum, and the Canadian Museum of Nature have in common? These four Ottawa-area institutions are participating in the 150th anniversary of Canada, and they all entrusted GSM Project — a company hailing from Montreal — with creating new immersive and interactive permanent exhibitions that would change their visitor experiences. GSM Project gives a peek behind the scenes at their creation.
Fitting 15,000 years of history in a 40,000-square-foot hall: from the earliest human habitation to today
The Canadian Museum of History challenged GSM Project to design the Canadian History Hall, an iconic exhibition celebrating Canada’s rich and ever-changing history that is a gift to Canadians for the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
Along with the Museum’s dedicated team, over 40 people from GSM Project worked on this project for the past four years. During the first year, GSM Project worked closely with the Museum’s curatorial team as they defined the content and narrative thread to share Canada’s history in the most authentic and inclusive way possible. This meant collecting different points of view from a wide range of communities across Canada — asking Canadians to tell their history.
This is the most ambitious exhibition ever created about Canada’s history, showcasing more than 1,500 authentic artifacts, many of them historical treasures that beautifully embody both the major achievements and some of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history.
Collaborating closely with the lead architect, Douglas Cardinal, who designed the Canadian Museum of History and redefined the interior of the History Hall, GSM Project modulated the exhibits to blend in seamlessly with the content, providing the visitor with an experience perfectly balanced between visual and spatial information. The space was configured to let visitors find their own path through the Hall. The Canadian History Hall opened its doors on July 1st.
Making the Canadian economy fun and accessible
Another current project due to open on Canada Day in Ottawa is the Bank of Canada Museum, which has been entirely renovated to replace the old museum. The Bank of Canada asked GSM Project to create a completely immersive and interactive experience to increase Canadians’ awareness of the Bank’s main functions (monetary policy, currency, monetary management and the financial system) and of the Bank’s role in everyday life.
From initial conception to final production, GSM Project put digital technology centre stage for this turnkey project. Upon arrival, visitors are given electronic bracelets fitted with RFID chips, letting them create their own personalized avatar that will follow them throughout their visit and represent them in the Museum’s various interactive activity stations.
Instead of using traditional labelling, GSM Project came up with fixed interactive stations that enable the visitor to get detailed information about the 1,400 artifacts on display to illustrate the history of the economy. The Museum teaches even young children about the complex notions of the economy using multiple interactive and mechanical games. Visitors can develop their understanding of supply and demand, plan and manage a budget through role play, discover the role the Canadian economy plays on the worldwide stage through a panoramic mural, and even create their very own bank note.
This major change from a simple currency collection to an interactive educational experience was facilitated using software developed by GSM Project themselves. Expo Manager makes it easier to remotely manage and edit the digital content on display, so that it can easily be tailored to the client and updated whenever needed.
This projected was developed over a period of 36 months and called on expertise from the team at GSM Project in over 20 different creative and technical fields.
Discovering innovation and technology through immersive experiences
The Canada Science and Technology Museum has undergone major renovations and is set to reopen in November 2017. Although in a new layout, their mission remains the same: to promote and celebrate Canada’s scientific and technological history and to encourage future innovations. With this in mind, GSM Project was asked to design and produce three exhibition spaces with the objective of offering a creative and largely interactive experience for the visitors:
Into the Great Outdoors shows over than 100 years of technologies developed to access and enjoy the vast Canadian landscape (bicycle, snowshoes, canoe, snowmobiles, etc.);
Sound by Design shows the different historical inventions for capturing and reproducing sound, as well as how their design has adapted to the lifestyles and fashions of their era, making them icons of their time;
Steam: A World in Motion bears witness to the last great age of steam in rail and maritime transportation, with the display centred around four authentic steam engines and the steam engine which powered the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) C.P. Edwards until 1974.
In close collaboration with the Museum, GSM Project worked first on developing the content before creating the experience around it and figuring out how to integrate it into the whole exhibition. When completed, the project will have taken nearly two years and involved professionals from over 50 different fields, with a breathtaking end result: 19 truly spectacular interactive and media stations seamlessly integrated into the exposition, such as the anechoic experience that plunges the visitor into near-absolute silence, or the opportunity to discover all the train-related professions.
Immersing in the biodiversity of the Canadian Arctic
Another project developed with the 150th birthday in mind was the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Canada Goose Arctic Gallery, for which GSM Project created the design. The gallery looks at the Canadian Arctic through a contemporary point of view and highlights its rich natural diversity and the strong links between nature and its inhabitants.
About GSM Project
GSM Project specializes in the ideation, design and production of visitor experiences. Based in Montreal, Canada, since its founding in 1958, the company also has offices in Dubai and Singapore and collaborates with a wide range of clients all over the world to create immersive, educational, and fun experiences. GSM Project has designed exhibitions for major museums across the globe, such as the National Museum of Singapore, the Canadian History Hall in Ottawa (Canada), the Anchorage Museum (Alaska, United States), and the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City (Canada). For more information, consult www.gsmproject.com
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