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The Lockkeeper’s House is the oldest building on Washington D.C.’s National Mall, which includes structures like the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. The building is a 350-square-foot 2-story stone structure that once stood beside 2 Washington canals.
The National Parks Service wanted to showcase the history of the House and the events it witnessed to breathe life into the recently re-opened building. They wanted to use audiovisual and interactive technology to replace a series of static plaques and bring the visitor experience into the digital age.
A dynamic video that tells the story through the eyes of the House and its occupants is projected onto a single screen and the original stone wall beside it. Two projectors precisely positioned for correct viewing in the restricted space are carefully concealed below the wooden rafters.
To deliver the audio for the film and other visitor information, four speakers are also installed in the rafters. To compliment the larger audio and visual experience, interactive touchscreen tablets provide visitors with deeper background information on historic events, people and locations around the House.
All the technology is controlled by a rack located in the basement with all power, data and signal cabling creatively routed through to the floor above. The result is a creatively engineered solution that provides an immersive, interactive experience with minimal impact on the historical structure.
The size and age of the historical stone building presented two significant challenges. The team was not allowed to make changes to any of the structure, which made it difficult to route cabling from the basement to the equipment upstairs.
Projection was also a challenge. The two projectors had to be as ‘invisible’ as possible and required creative engineering techniques to achieve the optimum projection angles for blending and clear viewing in the restricted space available.
Electrosonic overcame the challenges through creative engineering and installation. The power, data and signal cable runs for operation and show control were designed and installed so they could all be routed through the single small opening.
Projectors, speakers and other equipment were carefully installed for minimum visible impact on the historical building. Electrosonic carried out extensive projection tests to identify the best position and mounting angle for the two blended projectors.
Creating an audiovisual solution for a historical building with structural restrictions requires a sympathetic approach and creative engineering and installation skills. Fortunately, Electrosonic has a great deal of experience working within historical buildings.
By making optimum use of the available space and collaborating with the other partners, we were able to create the best possible visitor experience while protecting the fabric of the building.