The Museum of People
The Museum of People—
Team: Ashley Chan, Anukriti Kedia, Aditi Dhabalia
Duration: 3 weeks
Role: Service Design, Visual Design
There is a lack of understanding and appreciation for diversity across communities small and large, and the ways in which we do so often lack intimacy and memorability.
Framing the Problem
How might we use artifacts as a source of storytelling and build cultural learning and community amongst strangers?
How might we keep ephemeral stories, interactions, and learnings alive?
How might we turn one-sided conversations into cultural exchanges?
How might we leverage the power of gathering people and stepping back from our tech-centric world?
The Museum of People — a moving bus museum as a space for people to build artifacts, collect stories, & share them across communities and people.
How does the service work?
01. You see The Museum of People bus from across the street. You get in line, where you are surrounded by other curious strangers, as well as standing posts that read things like “Home is ____” and “The world needs ____”. Seeing these, you find yourself beginning to build conversations with those around you.
02. With the help of a facilitator, you are funneled into small groups with these strangers. You guys gather at a table, where you are given a prompt, such as “Sunday Brunch” or “A Taboo”, and an unlimited supply of Play Doh. Using this moldable medium and the prompt, you are told to build an artifact that reflects on you and your culture, and to share the stories behind it. With your permission, your conversations are recorded throughout the process.
03. Your artifacts are then taken to the bus, where they are displayed as a group, along with a headset for others to listen to your stories. You may also walk around this moving museum to learn about other people and cultures and see how they are embodied in both physical and audio forms.
The Museum of People will travel across the world, where it will continue to assimilate people and cultures.
Through “me, we, city” design sprints, we framed a target problem and established a service concept from the bottom up — from the micro to macro level.
Starting from our own team’s stories of personal transformation, we identified common threads including:
Building states of reflection and self-awareness
Converting negative moments to positive ones
Bridging gaps between the real and ought self
Creating space for building connections and community
These motifs helped to inspire scenarios encapsulating problem spaces, as well as design ideas. From these scenarios, we began to think past the individual to reflecting on communities near and far, large, and small.
Tackling cross-cultural understanding and appreciation became an interest of ours, since we see our university as a microcosm where different cultures intersect in a new space.
We built inspiration and research through various artists, innovators, and speakers, from Pittsburgh conceptual artist Lenka Clayton to co-founder of Dash Marshall, Bryan Boyer to Jubilee change-makers on YouTube. We were further inspired by Priya Parker’s ideas on the power and art of gathering.
We landed on the idea of a moving museum, where visitors can give and grow cultural understanding through a hands-on, interactive experience of artifact creation and storytelling.
This service opportunity became the basis for iterating through a user journey and service blueprint.
How can users best discover the service and how explicit do we want to be with intention?
How can we use space to build cultural exchanges and understanding between people?
How can we leverage physical artifacts and mediums of making to create memorability?
How can we provide the right balance of freedom and guidance between a group of strangers to foster desired interactions and conversations?
How can the tangible and intangible products of our gatherings be shared further or left behind?
How can we walk the boundaries of the everyday person as a viewer vs. a maker?
Making the uncomfortable comfortable through conversational touchpoints
We paid a lot of attention to shaping conversational touchpoints in order to spark conversation, maintain open-endedness, and introduce comfort between strangers,
In Line Conversation Starters
Compliment a stranger
Home is _____
The world needs _____
Family go-to place
Ask someone why their memory is so strong
Ask someone if their artifact or memory is something worth passing on
Experience Prototyping helped us to further flesh out the service experience.
Using this service blueprint, we built out features of our service to play test.
People love Play Doh — It’s versatile, happy, and playful!
Better conversations can be facilitated
Face-to-face gatherings are important
How can we expand the service?
Empower visitors to facilitate their own gatherings
Building together instead of individually
Connecting people from different states and countries
Building a safe space to share vulnerabilities
Crowdsourcing prompts for better conversations