Summer 2018 – 497-302: Creating & Prototyping Concepts for the Museum-of-the-Future

Meeting Day/Time
Session B (6/4 to 7/28) on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 6:25 to 9:05 pm
Twisha Shah-Brandenburg (UGEd with expertise in museum user-centered design) ( and Thomas Brandenburg (UGEd with expertise in museum user-centered design)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome
Social Innovation

Museum visitorship is on the decline and many museums are losing sources of funding, both public and private, due to this change. There are many reasons for this decline. We live in the Information age and knowledge that used to only be available at a museum is now available at our fingertips.

According to a report published on Statista, 56 percent of participants didn’t want to go to a local museum because they weren’t  interested in the content or didn’t think museums were relevant anymore.

Museums are in tough spot. They compete with family entertainment venues such as Disneyland, 6 Flags Great America, other traditional institutions such as zoos and botanic gardens, and informal educational resources readily available on the internet.

During this time of digital disruption how might museums re-imagine themselves? How can they once again be engaging centers of informal learning that can keep up with the pace of constant change? How can they be a place that fosters dialogue within a community? How can they curate but still remain relevant? How can they offer experiences that entice future generations of guests?

Students joining this IPRO project will form teams and work with a local museum such as The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, etc. to develop a deep understanding of the problem and develop a solution that addresses the above questions, challenges and opportunities. The overall goal of the class will be to come up with compelling blue sky ideas around how a museum could re-imagine itself in the digital age.

The teams will build on available observational research about museum guests as well as  competitive analysis from previous IPRO classes that will be provided. Teams will also have access to museum professionals to provide feedback on their work. The outcome of the entire IPRO class will be an array of viable possibilities that inspire thinking about the museum of the future that will be shared with several participating museums.

Students who join this IPRO class from any discipline will be introduced to a variety of  research and concept generation techniques. They will gain practical experience in rapidly translating ideas and concepts into low-to-mid fidelity prototypes that can inform future thinking and be used to gain feedback from museum professionals and guests. Students will also learn how to build narratives and develop pitches to stakeholders that inform and persuade. Ethical issues will also be integrated in the IPRO experience by considering the content, forms of delivery and types of interactivity for visitors who represent a diversity of cultures, ages, backgrounds and learning levels.

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