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When the International Spy Museum relocated to a new site, the owners wanted to use the space to give the museum a more international perspective and to involve visitors more deeply in the contribution of a profession that has helped shape world history.
The experience here is part museum and part game. Interactive and immersive exhibits let visitors experience what it takes to be an officer, agent or analyst working in the shadows, sometimes with life or death consequences.
Visitors take on an ‘Undercover Mission’ identifying themselves with a personalized interactive lanyard. They interact with displays that challenge them to complete demanding tasks — analyze clues, maintain cover, find and contact sources, collect intel at drop sites and complete other spy tasks. Welcome to the shadowy world of international espionage.
Sixteen interactive displays engage visitors throughout the museum giving them insight into the challenges faced by spies and the techniques they use to overcome them. For visitors on the ‘Undercover Mission’ personalization techniques are used to assess individuals’ suitability for different roles.
During a brief ‘interrogation’ at reception visitors answer a number of questions that determine their mission, cover identity and level of expertise.
Data from an interactive lanyard monitors visitors’ performance at every stage with results presented on a personal score sheet which they can access via the lanyard. Successful spies can go on to apply their new-found skills in other interactive games.
‘Mind Games’ explains the mental patterns and biases that can foil intelligence operations. ‘Red Teaming’ involves visitors in helping the CIA examine a compound where Osama Bin Laden might have been hiding — raid or stand down?
The ‘Sneaking into Berlin’ challenge makes extensive use of hidden low-light cameras, motion detection and RFID technology to detect and identify individual visitors, demonstrating the power of surveillance. In one example, an image captured during ‘Sneaking into Berlin’ is displayed on another exhibit later in the mission.
The goal was to place the visitor at the heart of the action, taking part in a real live spy mission and giving them surprises at every turn, while creating a seamless journey through the museum. This required careful positioning of RFID aerials and discreet integration with relevant exhibits and sensors.
‘Hidden technology’ was key to the overall success of the exhibition. Systems also had to be easy to use, so all exhibits were designed for simple operation and management.
Electrosonic, in partnership with Gallagher & Associates and Kubik/Maltbie, provided audiovisual and interactive consultation, design, integration and installation services. The solution fused architecture, storytelling and technology to create an exciting, interactive, personalized gaming environment. Electrosonic installed and integrated over 1300 pieces of equipment, including 16 interactives, projectors and touchscreens, RFID systems, custom control software and high-quality audio components.
The International Spy Museum has successfully relaunched in its new home, attracting larger audiences and claiming the position of most successful paid museum in a market where many competing venues offer free admission. Electrosonic used innovative technology and interactive elements to build the experience and this level of excellence helped Electrosonic win ‘Museum Project of the Year’ from Commercial Integrator’s Integration Awards, a prestigious award to cap a prestigious project.