Ideum and Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education have partnered on a project to spread the history, culture, and importance of caring for one of the United States’ most important ecological and economic resources, the Mississippi River. The initial two installations of the Mississippi Multimedia table exhibit are in Minnesota and Louisiana, the locations of the headwaters and delta of the Mississippi. However, Hamline University’s long-term plan is to encourage educational institutions, parks, and environmentally-conscious businesses to place Mississippi Multimedia tables at their locations all along the river.
Ideum teamed with Hamline to design and develop the interactive exhibit in such a way that it allows flexibility in the display, dependent on how many users are engaged with the multitouch table. The display adjusts to accommodate 1-4 people. In this way, a single user can make full use of the table, but if more individual users wish to engage, up to four stations can be operated independently of each other to allow each user to explore different content.
Once engaged, the users are presented with stunning satellite imagery of the Mississippi River from @Mapbox. Users can pan and zoom to explore the satellite map, and they can choose from a menu of topics. The topics include everything from the natural features of the river to how the river has influenced the arts. By selecting a topic to explore, the user initiates a different set of points of interest on the map. Each point of interest might include a variety of media, including stunning photography, video, and 360-degree panoramic images, captured by the Center for Global Environmental Education team.
In addition to the media, there are also several interactive quizzes embedded in the exhibit. The quizzes focus, among other things, on the steps individuals can take to help keep the Mississippi River watershed clean and safe. In this way, users are encouraged to take what they have learned and turn it into real-world action.
The Mississippi Multimedia table exhibit can currently be seen at Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education in St. Paul, Minnesota, and at the Meraux Foundation in Violet, Louisiana.