Interactive histories

What if the objects in the Museum could talk? How might we give meaningful contextual information to people who know nothing about Islamic art history, as well as regular visitors? How might relationships be made more visable between objects and to todays issues? How does the role of museums and collective knowledge spaces change with new technologies? The result of my thesis was a guide concept using capacitive tokens as keys to different experiences of the same exhibition.

ClientMaster thesis project in collaboration with the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin
DateSummer 2013
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Design Process

During the research and while setting up the project, I spoke with people from different backgrounds and connection to Islamic art history – museum experts, visitors, potential visitors, Islamicates and historians; many of whom were included later in the ideation and testing of concepts.

I began working with probes, sketches and prototypes to provoke and stir discussions early in the project to test my assumptions. I used different setups for testing ranging from an online survey, two organized workshops in the museum, and various individual discussions with different experts and (potential) visitors in and outside of the museum.



Storytellers are personal keys to the museum. They are small tokens that represent objects from the museum with an own character, topic and relationships to other objects. Each storyteller represents a different tour, for different themes, different levels of background knowledge and interests.

Storytellers are capacitive touch tokens that come to life through screen graphics. Placing your token on different screens in the exhibition will load its specific information. They can function as looking glasses, turning knobs, selection tools, preview windows or switches for other actuators.


The result is designed to open new perspectives to the museum, helping visitors to relate the objects on display to each other and their context, and tell engaging stories. At the same time, the system is a toolbox for exhibition makers: new tours can be designed as new findings arise – and the physical tokens can be send out as invitations.