Smithsonian's Multimedia Guide Connects Americans with their Democratic Past, Present & Future

July 14, 2017

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has collaborated with Antenna to create their first-ever multimedia guide. The guide houses tours of five different exhibits about democracy, religion in early America, the people of America, and other core elements of American identity. Collectively, the five exhibitions are titled ‘The Nation We Build Together.’ The guide features exclusive interviews with two former Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright, along with other transformative political figures like Obama Campaign Strategist and Presidential Advisor, David Axelrod. Humans are hardwired to respond to stories, so the team decided to present historical events and objects through the lens of narrative to remind visitors that they are the most vital components of American history. Colin Powell deftly explores concepts of civic engagement and liberty, Madeleine Albright describes her immigrant experience, and David Axelrod relays how person-to-person conversations invigorate the democratic process.

Antenna’s multimedia guide intuitively allows visitors to move between tours so they can explore all the exhibitions in depth. For the ‘Within These Walls’ exhibit, visitors walk through a reconstructed 200-year-old Massachusetts home, which is rendered as a 3D map within the guide. By clicking on hotspots aligned to sections of the house, visitors can listen to vivid stories that describe the experiences of five families living between the 1760s and the 1940s, and their contributions to American culture. Additional hotspots allow visitors to focus in on detailed object information within the context of the stories.

The guide is currently available in English (with Spanish to be released in August 2017) on Antenna’s M3 device. By allowing visitors to explore themes of freedom, liberty and opportunity at their own pace, the NMAH multimedia guide deepens the conversation about American democracy and identity.

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