W. H. Over, Lewis & Clark Spirit Mound Learning Center
Objectives: This was my first serious multimedia piece and was the result of a competitive research assistantship at USD. The W. H. Over State Museum is on the USD campus. They earmarked some money to commemorate Lewis and Clark’s trip through what became South Dakota. They commissioned a large mural and an interactive kiosk, I designed and built the kiosk presentation.
The committee’s original idea was to present a great deal of information to the visitors and let them wade through it.
Instead, I designed a presentation that told the basic story in a logical, chronological order, but allowed for the more interested viewer to drill down into deeper content at various places in the narrative.
Deep content included relevant entries from the original journals, lists of items bought and carried, made by members of the expedition, information on the plants and animals mentioned in the journals, and transcripts of the speeches Captain Lewis made to various groups of Native Americans.
Within the interface I used a series of oversized buttons that I placed at the bottom of the screen . I chose to use a static layout with a single button for "Next" one for "Back," and one each for occasionally available optional deep content, video, journal entries, speech transcripts, etc., but left these buttons unlabeled when situationally irrelevant. The "Video" button, for example, was always the same button, in the same place, but was left blank on pages where there was no supplemental video.
The deadline was the anniversary of the Corps of Discovery’s exploration of Spirit Mound, a local glacial drumlin, on August 25th. I started the project in mid June. Due to the short time frame and our inability to gather permissions to use published content, I ended up generating nearly all of the media utilized including digital video of buffalo, the Missouri river, the Elk Point Lewis and Clark re-enactment, digital imagery of museum artifacts, and the cartogrophy for all of the maps used. Flora and fauna images were supplied by the museum and some text blocks were written by two of the committee members. My wife also contributed some illustrations and one text block.
Because of the short timeframe I elected not to include any audio for the original presentation. A few years later, however, I had my graduate Digital Audio Production class create a complete sound design for the kiosk with a narrator, background music (that can be turned off), and even new audio for the videos. Their version runs at the museum now.
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