Reflection on St Fagans Concept

Reflection on St Fagans Concept

Over the past couple of days I’ve taken the decision to ‘Shelve’ my concept for the St Fagans museum interactive experience, there are a number of obstacles that are preventing the project moving forward which i’ll briefly explain below.

When thinking about my project this year i reflected on some of the areas that have caused projects to fail in the past. Looking back over the past two years access has been the primary headache for our projects be it locations to film Drama or contributors for documentaries; with this in mind I decided to focus on access before ideas when thinking about my final year project.

I had a contact at the national museum of wales. I really wanted to make an interactive project after the success i had in year 2 with ‘The Bristol Hum’ and I thought a museum exhibit would be an ideal project to approach. Initially I planed to focus on the museum of welsh soldiers in Cardiff as I knew my contact had connections and I felt it had under utilised exhibits that would be ideal for development.

I prepared a proposal based on the Museum of the Welsh shoulder and myself and Hannah-Jane churchman arranged to meet my contact. We met at the National Museum in Cardiff and discussed some of the techniques we could use to create and interactive project for the museum. My contact was very excited by the proposal and said they’d love to help out. She suggested using The St Fagans museum of welsh life and so we proceeded with this as a project and began developing ideas.

Over the course of the next few weeks we had little communication from my contact at the museum, we found it hard to arrange a meting and get names of people we should talk two. We needed to move quickly to create a story. After visiting the museum we found it was a great location but needed a firm contact who could provide us with background information and possible story themes and this sadly wasn’t forthcoming at this time.

During the pitches I pitched an initial Idea I had for a possible story, I got support from my tutors and a crew started to form. Planning the story became increasingly more difficult because of the lack of contact, access and the fact that the location was so far away. Last week my initial contact did get in touch about filming a separate project for the museum, this was a short promotional film to highlight a local Chartism commemorative event. During this filming i was inspired by the people we were talking to and the stories they had to tell about the subject and I was also feeling proud that these people were highlighting a story close to me.

Over the past few days I’ve decided that it will be  more appropriate to change my project idea. I’d like to focus on telling a story local to me in the same sort of way we envisioned the St Fagans project (interactive/online) but with the benefit of it being much more local, open access to locations, a large number of potential stories and contributors who can help tell those stories. There is also a need for this story to be told as the council (Newport) actively tries to promote it’s Chartism history. i can still use my Museum contact but now this won’t be my only contact so hopefully planning can be easier. The location close to my home will also allow for easier access in terms of prototyping ideas and location recces.

Reflecting on my original idea it has lead me to this new one indirectly so the work put in initially wasn’t wasted time. There is also the possibility of picking this project up in the future after my university studies are complete and I can take a longer term approach to planning and implementation.

 

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St Fagans Museum Project Possible Structure

St Fagans Museum Project Possible Structure

I’ve started to develop some story ideas for our St Fagans Project. as we are planning on basing it at the St Fagans castle i looked toward the history of the castle as a stately home first and then a convalescence hospital during the war, I’d like to bring both elements into the story if i can.

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In terms of Audience we are thinking of attracting educational visitors and school groups of around 9/10 years of age. With this in mind I was thinking of using the stately home owners children as characters and maybe a Jack in a box as a prop that can be carried around the story and used as an interactive tool .

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To incorporate the hospital element I decided to incorporate some of the artwork that the patients were producing during the war. One piece stuck out, a small butterfly that I thought could be concealed in the Jack in a box.

My idea is that a group will arrive at the museum and discover one of the artifacts is missing, using the jack in a box they will explore the museum trying to locate this missing object (The Butterfly) During the journey they will learn about the history of the castle through interactive elements housed in the jack in a box and with contact with improvising actors. At the end of the story the jack in a box will open to reveal the missing object that has been there all along and can now be returned to the museums display.

 

 

Meeting With Emma Routley – National Museum Wales

Meeting With Emma Routley – National Museum Wales

We have a arranged a meeting with Emma Routley who is a project manager for the national museum of Wales. She is based at the national museum in Cardiff but travels to various museums around South Wales. Emma works mainly with youth and community groups and her job is to promote the museums to these groups and arrange learning and community activities.

The aim of the meeting was to explain in more detail what the scope of an interactive project could offer the museum and get an idea for the type of location that we could use to create our project. We showed Emma examples of other interactive projects based at heritage attractions such as Splash and Ripples ‘A knights Peril’, we also explained about how we used interactive elements to create our trans media narrative project ‘The Bristol Hum’ in our second year. Initially I had pitched using the museum of the welsh soldier in Cardiff Castle to Emma as I felt this was an under developed museum which could benefit from an improved attraction but Emma suggested St Fagans would probably be more suitable for this kind of project and she suggesting using the Castle at St Fagans as it has a long history and could possible add more of a character driven story.

Emma was excited by our plans and said she would work with us to get permissions to create the project and she would liaise between ourselves and the museum to come up with a suitable story structure. She explained some of the reasons why there has been a lack of investment by Museums around interactivity, this was mainly due to implementation costs amid tighter budgets but mainly because of the costs of updating and maintaining these systems which is an investment the museums simply can’t afford in the long run.

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After our meeting we explored the National Museum just to see if it had any modern forms of interactivity. It was interesting to see projections being used but this was really the limit of modern technology implementation at this site. I left feeling positive that we could perhaps bring innovative new approaches to the museums exhibits and create something that cost very little to implement and maintain but would have a lasting effect on the museums popularity.

St Fagans Museum Initial ideas

St Fagans Museum Initial Ideas Recce

As part of our research for our interactive museum exhibit we today visited St Fagans museum of welsh life situated just outside of Cardiff. The museum is part of the National Museum of Wales and houses original buildings from around wales that have been transported to the site and re-built/restored as an attempt to document welsh history and save historic buildings.

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This is a potential location for our interactive narrative story and so in preparation for our meeting with Emma Routley (National museum project manager) on Friday we decided to recce the site to give us an idea of what the museum already offered in terms of interactive elements and what we could potentially create.

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In terms of interactive elements the museum had very little on the day we visited. They had a few demonstrations of flour making and baking and a number of members of staff on hand to act as curators for individual exhibits. One exhibit did have an element of user interaction, the St Tilos church had small information boards where visitors were encourages to walk with them around the exhibit and identify artifacts.

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Some of the advantages of creating an experience here would be the size of the area and the fact that it is outdoors, this would be ideal for a GPS based application. The majority of the buildings are naturally very dark inside so this opens up the opportunity to maybe incorporate some sort of projection imaging into our story.

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With the museum being free and open daily we would have a loot of scope in terms of access to the site, being able to carry out research as we need but the downside is the museums distance form our base with is being a 1 hour drive from Bristol.

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Thinking of story ideas, the exhibits didn’t really have any character based history, they were more building and purpose related historical stories so we’d have to think of characters and a narrative to guide the audience through the exhibit.