Archives

Search for Articles




Media Release

Published: 05/14/2007

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science wins national awards

Museum recognized for excellence in media and technology
ALBUQUERQUE - The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and its partners the Weatherhead Experience Design Group are pleased to announce they are the recipients of two 2007 MUSE Awards. A Gold Level MUSEAward in the Multimedia Experience Category for RISE OF THE MACHINES and a Silver Level MUSE Award in the Interactive Kiosk Category for  PIZZA RUN.  Now in its 18th year, the MUSE awards competition recognizes outstanding achievement in museum media.  The competition is an activity of the Media and Technology Standing Professional Committee of the American Association of Museums. 

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Executive Director, Dr. Adrian Hunt reacted to the awards by saying, “We are proud of the fact that the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science has received an unprecedented two national awards for its latest exhibit. This is national validation for what we already knew - the museum is one of the finest natural history museums in the country.”

The Gold Level MUSE Award is in the Multimedia Experience Category for RISE OF THE MACHINES in the Museum’s new exhibit STARTUP, Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution, which opened in November 2006. In RISE OF THE MACHINES, artifacts come alive in an immersive multimedia experience combining motion graphics, multi-track audio, music, archival video, and theatrical lighting to tell the story of the beginning of the personal computer industry. The goals were to display as many microcomputers and graphics as possible from the collection in a very limited amount of space; to communicate the emotional and complex stories behind these rather dull looking machines in a lively, humorous, way for our middle school target audience; and to provide a high-paced media intensive experience to reach this "wired" audience.

The judges said, “Wow! We laughed; we cried...this piece was great and a true multimedia installation. When the first computer box introduced itself on the projection screen there was a momentary and audible groan from at least one juror. But those fears were quickly alleviated as this humorous and wonderfully informative piece took us on a fascinating and entertaining journey through the early history of the personal computer and the individuals, communities, and companies that developed the PC and the software that made them widely accessible. The producers clearly understood both the importance and relevance of the content and its potential snooze-factor. Each time the complexity of the content challenged our attention spans, the producers responded brilliantly with media, lighting effects, and well-crafted dialogue and drew us back in. This is a terrific example of how important, complex content can be effectively communicated through the creative use of technology, theater, and good script-writing.”


The Silver Level MUSE Award in the Interactive Kiosk division is for PIZZA RUN. Pizza Run gives four visitors at a time a direct experience in software programming. It provides them with a limited set of commands from which they must write an algorithm to guide their car across town, stop by a pizza parlor, and arrive at a party on time with a hot pizza. The goal was to convey the role of creativity in software programming, show how software developers use a range of approaches to solve problems, and to provide a successful experience in programming.

The judges said, “This appealing and appetizing presentation allows users to think like computer software programmers and navigate their way from problem to solution. It is a participant observer experience where it allows four visitors at a time to direct the experience by manipulating a number of commands to write an algorithm to guide their car across town, stop by a pizza parlor, and arrive at a party on time with a hot pizza. The result is a program written by the user, which behaves like a real program, where certain hardware elements will produce unpredictable results.”

The MUSE Awards competition received nearly 200 applications from a wide variety of museums in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.  Entries included audio, cell phone, and interactive handheld tours, interactive kiosks and multimedia installations, podcasts, blogs, games, websites, online collection and image databases, videos, and e-mail marketing campaigns. This year MUSE Award winners were named from 11 distinct categories.

“It is an honor and privilege for AAM's Media and Technology Standing Professional Committee to host the MUSE awards, now in its eighteenth year. Once again, the quality and diversity of entries has been exceptional. The ingenuity and creativity of the people who conceptualize and build these projects, never ceases to amaze me.” - Nik Honeysett, Chair of AAM’s Media & Technology Committee

Thirty-eight judges – museum and media professionals from across the county – were involved in the process of selecting the winners.  Winning entries were expected to demonstrate outstanding achievement in content quality; interface design; functionality; production quality; visual appeal; the user’s experience; and the intent to which new directions were charted or old challenges resolved through technical innovation.  A complete list of judging criteria and MUSE Award winners can be found on the Media and Technology website:
http://www.mediaandtechnology.org/

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and the Weatherhead Experience Design Group were presented with the MUSE GOLD Award for Multimedia Experience and MUSE SILVER Award for Interactive Kiosk during a champagne reception on Sunday, May 13, 2007 at the 2007 American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.  There to receive the award and represent the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science was Museum Executive Director, Dr. Adrian Hunt and Andrea Weatherhead, President and CEO of the Weatherhead Experience Design Group.


STARTUP, Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution, is located in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and is free with paid General Admission to the Museum. Admission prices are: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for Children ages 3-12. The Museum is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Days and non-holiday Mondays in January and September) and is located at 1801 Mountain Road NW in Old Town Albuquerque. Call 505-841-2800 for details or visit the Museum online at www.nmnaturalhistory.org

Back to Media Releases