The Canadian Museum of Nature, which originally opened to the public in 1912, embarked on an extensive process of renewal which included the restoration and renovation of its exhibits in the historic Victoria Memorial Museum Building in Ottawa.
As part of this project Magian was contracted to work with Museum staff to develop a comprehensive technical architecture that would allow multimedia technologies to be incorporated into each of the restored galleries in several phases over the following years. The first three galleries – Fossils, Mammals and Birds – opened in early 2007 and were to be completed by 2011.
Magian designed and established standards for the Museum's exhibition technology architecture in order to facilitate the effective and efficient development of displays and public programs into the future. Magian developed a range of solutions and planned for the latest technologies, including fibre optics, to ensure optimum presentation quality, reliability, updatability, multi-channel audio delivery and maintenance efficiency for the range of multimedia programs throughout the Museum.
Working closely with the in-house teams at the Museum, Magian designed and produced all of the media programs for the Canadian Birds Gallery.
Magian's work includes touchscreen programs mounted directly in front of the museum cases displaying mounts of Canadian birds. Information in display cases is kept to a minimum and supplemented by engaging interactive activities, individual bird calls sourced from the Cornell University sound library, videos showing natural behaviours and interviews with specialists. The content from these programs is also included in Resource touchscreen programs installed with seating at each end of the gallery to allow for extended periods of study by individuals or small groups of visitors. In addition a large display theatre delivers video footage but can be taken over by education staff using a PDA controller, for presentations. Magian also designed and produced an ethereal soundscape for the Gallery.
The Magian MMaP System is used as the basis for all of the media programs and soundscapes in the Canadian Birds Gallery to allow for updating and change to exhibit content as research delivers new scientific understandings and information over time. MMaPS also automates the delivery of web-ready versions of all multimedia interactive games directly to the Canadian Museum of Nature's website.
Education staff use handheld PDAs (recently converted by Magian to Apple iPads) communicating via a wireless network, to take control of any multimedia touchscreens in the Gallery. Staff are able to provide Museum visitors with lively and responsive guided tours, using content drawn from the media database and the multimedia templated system within the Magian MMaPS Content Manager System.
Canadian Birds Gallery
Canadian Museum of Nature