Note: This post is part of my “Museums Project“, a collection of 200+ high-concept ideas for museums.
If you don’t move in slow motion you get kicked out.
The nice thing about this rule is that you can easily apply it to existing museums and other businesses without a lot of setup. All you need is a sign and an employee willing to kick people out. I’m not sure if we let the employee move in regular speed though. But I’m afraid if they aren’t permitted to move in regular speed that they’ll never catch the people who are breaking the rules.
I think I read about moving in slow motion as a mindfulness tactic in the Practicing Mind. The author recounts the story of taking his day purposely slowly, and he is surprised to find out that he is getting more done than usual. Not only that, but he felt much better about his day.
Would people feel better and be more mindful of the artifacts in the museum if visitors were required to move in slow motion?
Maybe this concept is just for one of many rooms so that people don’t have to move in slow motion during their entire visit. On the other hand, if it was required in the whole museum we wouldn’t need a very big museum. Depending on the speed limit, people could be there for hours and not go very far.
How do you design engaging exhibits knowing that your patrons will be moving in slow motion?
Are the exhibits of things that are already relatively slow, like clocks, paint drying, the rotation of the earth, thick slime, snails, sloths, crossing America in a covered wagon, a sunrise? Or are they of things that move faster but are slowed down so that visitors can more closely examine them – videos of hummingbirds, a very slow Rube Goldberg machine, a race of some sort? Or maybe they are things that are fast and it’s up to you to imagine them being slow?
Maybe all the art labels and signage are spaced out like this so you are encouraged to read slowly ?
Both automatic and manual doors should move slowly. Lights should turn on and off slowly. Anything that might move should move slowly. The drinking fountains and sinks are slow.
Are you required to talk slowly, or just move slowly? Are there some rooms where it is one and other rooms where it is the other? Is there an “everything slow” room? Is there a room where you need to find the slow thing?
Do the docents and other workers talk to you slowly? Walk slowly?
Does the museum’s speed limit change over time? At random times? Is it like when they blow the whistle in the pool and everyone has to get out for a slow motion break?
Do we give people heavy lead jackets and pants so that they literally can’t move very quickly or do we leave it up to them to figure out how to be slow?
What if some people are allowed to move slowly and some are not? What if each item in the museum gives you a suggested speed to enjoy it?
One important note: This is not the museum of waiting. That is a different museum. This museum is not about the passive slowness of waiting for things to happen. In The Museum of Slow Motion things are happening constantly. Just slowly.