Behind the Scenes Greenback America

A Digital Solution to the Problem of Paper


By Stephanie Hawthorne
Greenback America Graduate Research Assistant

A few weeks ago, Chris talked about exhibiting two-dimensional artifacts. He envisioned visually stunning display techniques, but did not consider digital applications as potential solutions to the problem of paper. Today it is not uncommon for exhibit developers to incorporate apps, tablets, touchscreens, or other tech-based elements into their exhibit experience. Whether a trivia game or educational video tech-based exhibit elements are meant to present exhibit information in more interactive ways and satisfy audience’s intensely tech-centered lives. How can museums use digital interactives based on two-dimensional objects to encourage a more profound and socially interactive experience?

The Boisterous Sea of Liberty exhibition at Monticello provides a meaningful example of tech-based interactives that inspires visitors to engage with two-dimensional artifacts, as well as each other. The exhibition, found in the Michelle Smith gallery, is a collage of large digital screens that are visually captivating. The large scale of the interactive as whole and the sophisticated software allows for wall-sized graphics that stretch across the numerous screens. 

This interactive is, in a word, beautiful.

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In the video above you can see how the museums’ paper artifacts are transformed into a highly interactive and engaging experience. The smoothness of the program presents images, quotes, documents, and other two-dimensional artifacts in a way that inspires a hands-on exploration of history. Additionally, visitors are observed interacting with each other. The exhibition seamlessly connects audio-visual and text elements to a powerful interpretation of the struggle for liberty around the world. 

In other words, this highly interactive and tech-based exhibit is an impressive means of addressing the problem of paper.

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Sources: Monticello and Exhibit Files

You can read visitors’ compelling reviews here and here.