Note: This post is part of my “Museums Project“, a collection of 200+ high-concept ideas for museums.
“Here’s your outfit,” says the person at the front desk as they hand you a heavy bag of clothes. “The locker room is over there”.
What does George Washington’s locker room look like?
Washington is just an example. It could be any person, character, thing or concept.
In the locker room you see 10 other people changing into costumes like yours. Who said there was only one George Washington?
You go back into the museum, which is made up of many little rooms. Each fits about 20 people, at most. You have a headset.
Is there a docent?
The headset tells you how to act. What to think and what to say. You start at a cherry tree with an ax laying beside it. It’s a projection. It disappears and the docent asks you about it. The headset tells you to say “it never happened”. Everyone says it in unison. The docent feigns surprise.
The docent asks about wooden teeth. Everyone says “partially true”.
The tour continues to the next artifact, perhaps a painting of some early childhood event. The headset makes a sort of dreamlike sound and the voice says “I remember this…” (You can tell that it’s meant to be your thoughts, and not to be said out loud).
The tour continues. Perhaps these:
- There are other characters on the tour.
- You are asked to introduce yourselves to each other as George Washington.
- There’s some drinks.
- There’s a bus you all have to sit on.
- Individuals have conversations with the docent.
- Maybe some or even most of the people in the museum are regular everyday non-George Washington visitors. The GW’s are walking around as fake docents. They don’t acknowledge the visitors, per se, but can punch a number in their headset to hear something to tell to the visitors as if they were a docent. They don’t respond to the visitors questions.
- Maybe it’s just a regular museum about GW and if you want to visit it, you have to wear the costume. This makes the whole thing more self-relevant and the story is then told as if you are experience in real time. First Person.
- Perhaps there are choices you need to make. If you make the wrong choice maybe there are consequences. Maybe it scores you on your knowledge. You have to go and find the facts to get to the next room.
The expectations is that:
- Costumes connect you to the content because you become a part of the story. If people have to actually say things in character or do things in character or have the thoughts put into their head as character, then they are that much more involved.
- Even the non-GW’s have their experienced enhanced.
- Having a group of people together doing weird things normalizes it and makes it easier for weird things to happen, particularly when normal visitors are around and social proof comes into play. (Whereas just one GW might chicken out, a “team” of GWs likely won’t).
- The interactions between the GWs and the non-GW visitors will be fun.