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Exhibiting Community: Using Collected Interviews in a Small Interactive Exhibit

Master’s Project by Christina Januszewski (2016)

The purpose of this thesis project was to design an interactive exhibit for the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society based on stories from the Lake Union community to connect visitors in the McCurdy Family Maritime Gallery in the Museum of History and Industry with the history of Lake Union. Findings from a 2015 audience research study indicated that visitors did not connect views of Lake Union outside of the gallery with the exhibits within. The study also determined that visitors desired more interactive elements in the Maritime Gallery. As such, an interactive table exhibit was designed to include an inlaid maritime map of Lake Union and the immediate environs. Photos and interactive discovery doors were incorporated to encourage viewers to engage with the exhibit and connect to the exterior views. The primary narrative basis of this exhibit included excerpts from interviews of members of the Lake Union community. The exhibit design also included a second participatory activity based on visitor-produced origami boats in distinct colors demonstrating the visitor’s relationship to Lake Union. This project suggested the possibility of designing an effective exhibit on a limited budget, the importance of evaluations to exhibit development, the challenges of fulfilling expectations of multiple stakeholders, and discernment of the most crucial elements to take from extensive and diverse interviews in order to create the best impact on an engaged audience within limited space.


Keywords: project, exhibitions, interactive


Januszewski,C. (2016). Exhibiting Community: Using Collected Interviews in a Small Interactive Exhibit. Unpublished master’s project, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.