Worcester Historical Museum: An Interactive Redesign of the Fuller Gallery


An Interactive Redesign of the Fuller Gallery

A Worcester Polytechnic Institute Interactive Qualifying Project in conjunction with the Worcester Historical Museum

History connects the inhabitants of any given locale with a common resource and background that serves not only to connect individuals with each other, but with the community that they live and grow within. The Worcester Historical Museum, located at 30 Elm Street, Worcester, MA is the sole authority on the history of New England’s second largest city. From its humble beginnnings as the Worcester Society of Antiquity in 1875, the museum evolved just as frequently as the city of Worcester, all the while encompassing thousands of stories and artifacts to chronicle the progression of the city’s diverse legacy. The museum today seeks to continue attracting visitors with unique and engaging exhibits that facilitate a higher level of understanding of Worcester’s history.

At the forefront of the Worcester Historical Museum’s Fuller Gallery is an exhibit paying tribute to Worcester’s diverse and voluminous industrial history. This exhibit, titled In Their Shirtsleeves contains a variety of artifacts and stories centered around a visual timeline that spans nearly 300 years of working heritage.

In keeping with recent museum exhibit design trends, the Worcester Historical Museum began an initiative to move their galleries towards an interactive and engaging experience. In 2013, the Alden Family Gallery underwent a full redesign with the help of the Boston Children’s Museum design team. The overwhelming success of the new interactive gallery solidified the museum’s desire to continue implementing new interactive designs throughout the entire museum.

Our team built upon the work of several other Worcester Polytechnic Institute student groups that worked at the Worcester Historical Museum. Backed with extensive research and a variety of analysis tactics, our team created:

  • An interactive prototype design for an exhibit featuring David Clark Company’s Full-Pressure Suit (The predecessor to Neil Armstrong’s suit on the 1969 moon landing)
  • An interactive prototype design for an exhibit featuring Joshua Stoddard’s steam calliope
  • A searchable database for the museum library’s collection of Worcester city directories (1844-Present)
  • A detailed Next Steps outline for the museum to continue the work of our team during the IQP term

Final Report

Worcester Historical Museum: An Interactive Redesign of the Fuller Gallery