Big Red One’s Museum Goes Interactive In $8M Renovation

The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, in Chicago, recently completed a year-long, $8 million renovation that complete reimagining the presentation of the story behind the U.S. Army’s famed division known as the Big Red One.

The new version has extensive storytelling installations that integrate interactive media and other historic artifacts through experiential design. The program  was master-planned and delivered by Chicago exhibit design firm Luci Creative.

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“We were hired to develop a holistic new experience for the First Division Museum with a contemporary design approach, aiming to inspire deeper connections between visitors and all those who serve our country,” says AJ Goehle, Principal at Luci Creative. “As we are seeing already, the new design elements, multi-layered media and interactives are helping visitors get to know the world-famous Division, its soldiers and their stories, while also developing a better understanding of their own roles impacting today’s military.”

“Since we opened on August 26, our visitation is up by 30% and visitors are thrilled, many saying they had never really thought about how much we ask our soldiers to do every day around the world,” adds Paul Herbert, Executive Director at First Division Museum. “That is exactly the insight we wanted – to connect the visiting public with their soldiers and the missions they undertake in our name.”

Among the numerous media and interactive installations are large-scale touchscreens present life-sized soldiers telling their own stories. There is also a full-scale Blackhawk helicopter equipped with VR headsets that transport visitors directly into a house raid in Iraq, while boarding a Bradley fighting vehicle whisks them into a Gulf War battle.

There is also a First in War permanent exhibit, which honors the Division’s story from its 1917 creation through the Vietnam War. Here as well, the reimagined exhibit includes new graphics, thematic environments, and films amplifying epic soldier experiences from WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War.


Projects: Projection-Mapped Video Table Powerfully Illustrates Nazi Looting

This is a 3D projection-mapped video table that illustrates the expropriation of Jewish property during the Third Reich in Berlin, the centerpiece of an exhibit at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York. The Stolen Heart Video Map is the feature element of  “Stolen Heart: The Theft of Jewish Property in Berlin’s Historic Center, 1933–1945.”

The three-dimensional projection map was designed and delivered by New York-based creative studio C&G Partners, tracking the theft of Jewish homes and business by the Nazis. It follows the rise of Jewish  business and property owners in Berlin during the 19th century, as well as the crucial economic, cultural, scientific and philanthropic contributions they made until the 1930s. With the rise of the Nazis, Jewish-owned homes and business were confiscated and used for various war-related purposes.

The maps feature aerial views of homes and other properties from 1933 to present day, with video content incorporating archival images and topographic time-lapse elements projected onto the 3D-printed 1:1,500 scale model of the heart of Mitte. The projection-mapped effects, including tiny details like moving period-automobiles, were prototyped at actual size throughout production.

The overhead projection sequences are powered by a BrightSign 4K media player.

Very nice, and evidence projection-mapping is not just about grand scale projects like lighting up the sides of buildings.