Museography, a producer’s perspective
A major challenge faced in this project was bringing together the museology team and its museum counterpart.
Museology (the story that the museum wants to tell) was taken care of by the client who wanted it to be as precise, detailed and technical (facts, circumstances, dates) as possible, almost exhaustive. Most of the time, this takes the form of long narratives, sometimes a little too specialized to be apprehended as is by the public whose attention – it seems- tend to remain fairly low, and especially with written content.
Our approach regarding museography however (the means – multimedia in our case – with which we tell this story) rather seeks to summarize concepts and ideas in a few seconds in the most intuitive, graphical and fun way possible (animations, drawings, video). Less text for more interactivity.
To tackle this potential source of conflict, we decided to put together a mixed team, composed of a museologist director (the client) and a museographer director (us), working together through every step of the design phase. Museologists seem to be unaccustomed to working for multimedia content and our supporting the client during the whole process of creation proved to be crucial. In order to avoid oversimplification, we had to demonstrate that they are alternatives to expressing a content, some being more efficient than others. We basically had to vulgarize the content for visitors in a hurry and yet provide expert visitors with ways to dig further in the topic. Some sort of a two speed exploration mode.
Choosing the right art direction and interactive scripting was crucial. A good A.D. will establish both some codes (content and information organization in both the physical space and interactive elements) and ergonomics (information & navigation) that we will then be applied to the entire exhibition and to which visitors will intuitively refer to.
Graphical interpretation remains a tricky part. Finding the right balance between vulgarizing the content and respecting the concerns of the scientific committees (mapping, costumes, anachronisms, etc.) remains a great challenge.