The National Museum of American Jewish History
The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) reopened its doors in a stunning new 100,000-square-foot building on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. NMAJH is the nation’s only museum dedicated solely to telling the story of Jews in America from their arrival more than 350 years ago to the present day.
Electrosonic was challenged to integrate extensive audio-visual technology to exhibit and interpret the American Jewish experience, while meeting the needs of RomeAntics, the media and AV consultant, and Local Projects, exhibit AV and interactive content providers. Visitors start their tour on the fourth floor of the atrium-style building where “Foundations of Freedom” profiles the earliest Jewish communities in America and their everyday life from colonial times through the late 1800s. The “Foundations of Freedom Theater” is an open space with two perpendicular walls that serve as projection surfaces. Electrosonic provided five projectors to create one continuous image or a mosaic of images across the screens.
In the “Innovation and Expansion” gallery, Electrosonic provided an impressive “map table” displayed via two projectors. Visitors are able to use an adjacent touchscreen to select the animated content and sequences that fill the “map table.” In the same area, Electrosonic provided a projection system integrated within the architectural elements of a 19th century ballroom setting in the “Purim Ball” gallery.
On the third floor, visitors explore the “Dreams of Freedom” presentation, which chronicles the immigrant experience that reshaped the American Jewish community. Electrosonic equipped the presentation with three projectors displaying onto an intriguing screen surface, image-masked by the media producer to give the illusion of a number of random sheets of paper.
Electrosonic also provided interactive displays in many of the museum’s exhibits, including “Moving to America,” an immigrant-processing experience, and an old-fashioned “Schoolroom” gallery where the chalkboard’s projected writing appears real.
On the second floor, “Choices and Challenges of Freedom” marks the period from 1945 to today. Electrosonic provided five wall-mounted, 46-inch LCD panels for the introductory show, and a small interactive theater to document the rise of the suburban synagogue building. In the “Contemporary Issues Forum,” video recording and object recognition facilitated by video processing provided by Electrosonic allows visitors to engage in real-time, multi-participant discussions about important issues affecting the American Jewish community. “It’s Your Story” invites visitors to step into a video recording booth and share their family histories, which the museum will archive for public viewing and online sharing.
Upon reaching the first floor, visitors tour the “Only in America Gallery/Hall of Fame,” which showcases the remarkable achievements of 18 Jewish Americans. The space combines artifacts with a large projected image display, from five edge-blended projectors, on two impressive curved screens. Electrosonic integrated DLP projectors for both the NMAJH’s small screens and the larger projection screens that required edge blending. The show control system is monitored via a wireless control panel that allows museum service staff to control individual exhibits from anywhere within the building.