We went and had another look at M-Shed (by Sam).
On Saturday (October 22nd) we decided to return to M-Shed to aid in the continuation of our project. With what we want to achieve, and who we want to design for now firmly in our minds we wanted to have a look at the museum on a busier day, and scout out potential areas where we could incorporate our ideas.
Choosing a Saturday morning gave a whole different perspective on the museum compared to our visit last month (which was on a Thursday). When we previously visited the only people who were there were our fellow students. While this gave us a little bit more room to view what the museum had to offer it didn’t allow us to observe others engaging and interacting with the content around them. This time however was completely different. The whole museum was buzzing with life with lots going on inside and out.
Unsurprisingly the double-decker bus on the ground floor was by far the most popular attraction for all age groups. Kids loved playing around inside, exploring each part and running up and down the stairs while others simply enjoyed the experience of being inside the bus. While it may seem obvious, this reinforced the point that people not only prefer a physical ‘real-life’ object over simple images or writing but being able to experience it as it was in the real world. Would as many people be this interested over a small model of a bus? Unlikely! With this observation it provides some reinforcement that we’re on the right track for our graffiti showcasing idea.
The more time we spent at the Museum we found things that we had previously missed which would be relevant to our project. We managed to find a single plaque dedicated to Street Art (aside from Banksy’s piece), and a small, but poorly done video on the graffiti in Stokes Croft. Finding this confirmed that M-Shed has no problem covering the topic but is in dire need of making it interactive, engaging and most of all interesting. As a group we observed these exhibits and noticed that they were more or less ignored by the museum goers. They were not only small and unassuming compared to the more colourful pieces but they were also quite confusing. We left them still unsure what the three buttons were for!
Our primary target audience is going to be primarily but not limited to the students of Bristol. Many who come here to study take great pride in the city and are deeply interested in the culture. With a heavy amount of student accommodation located in and around Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road it would be great to educate people living in or visiting those areas about the art that’s so prominent. We want to make it so when walking down the street and one enjoys a mural, or piece of graffiti, they can understand the history associated with it and why it is there. We want our feature in the museum to get people to think about and express their opinions of the controversial topic of street art. This will fit well in the M-Shed as there is already existing hardware that allows people to vote on whether they agree/disagree with a number of topics from slavery to modern day politics. These interactive features have proven to be very popular and would be great to incorporate with our project as re-purposing existing hardware would help to keep costs down.
We noticed that the majority of people at the museum were either families with their children or elderly people. It would be great to create something that will draw in young adults/students so they will then explore what the museum has to offer and learn about Bristol’s rich history. Having something that engages students and directly targets an aspect of Bristol that many are interested in may bring a whole host of new visitors to M-Shed. From personal experience and talking to fellow students many find museums boring so we want to directly target this.
We don’t want to limit our target audience too much however, so we will design with the aim to engage the majority of visitors at M-Shed. Developing a balance will have to be achieved over the course of the project so we can take into consideration how both children and older people could use the exhibit while being able to express their opinions.
Now to complete our Design Brief.
Below is a gallery of some of our observations from our trip: