This educational gallery is inspired by the excitement and curiositythat weassociate with the word “vault”. The room evokes a level of intimacy that feelssafeand in doing so invites investigation. Within the room the visitor can explore the world of art , educate themselves through the interactive displays, and have an experience that is simply fun. We knew this room, though small, had the potential to inspire visitors to delve deeper into the coffers of the museum collection and the ideas behind the works of art and become more invested in valuing an institution that has had such an influence on our community.
An existing education gallery was renovated to take advantage of new computer technology donated to the museum. Inspired by an existing vault room adjacent to the gallery and the ability to access the museum’s collection through the computer database, we wanted to create an experience that simulated the privilege of being inside the museum’s vault. The weathered steel vault door was maintained and a carefully detailed, removable steel panel system for magnetic display of art and sculpture wraps the room’s interior, maintaining the integrity of the historic structure.
Three computer terminals offer access to the collection in three different modes of engagement – one terminal sits on the table, one is suspended from the ceiling and one is attached to the vault door. The various attachments offer the visitor multiple ways to interact with the technology, sitting or standing.
A large steel and wood table offers the visitors an opportunity to research, reflect and play. A shallow carved bowl at the center of the table creates curiosity and interest about materiality and detail. In much the same way that the museum’s database offers a information that glimpses the layer of information beyond what the eye can perceive, the table offers an experience of it’s own layersof complexity.