the Augusta Canal Museum is one of our favorites – with a lovely client, this has turned out to be a museum that we most thoroughly enjoyed working on. The museum is built into an 1850s era weaving mill, and the exhibits vary from a really working water driven turbine, through various settings that include complex interactive exhibits without a touch screen in sight, to a theater and an object theater telling the story of the early days at the mills.
The story that is told here is about the development of the Augusta canal, specifically built to power cotton mills – and the first interactive allows visitors to control the amount of water that comes from the canal through a simple sluice gate and powers a wooden water wheel to power the various tools inside of a building. Mad made the model from scratch, and used tools including a 3-D milling machine to create this exhibit.
The mill building model is an interactive, in that it allows visitors to crank a handle as if they’re cranking a water turbine where the amount of light that comes on inside the building reflects the amount of energy they put in, clearly showing the correlation between energy needs and output from a cotton mill.
A horizontal LCD screen with scenery mounted on top lets visitors look at the different types of vessels that were in use on the canal. Mad created the entire exhibit, including the animated imagery that shows the various vessels in action.
Another exhibit is a steampunk style periscope that allows visitors to look into the actual turbine room where to this day electricity is being generated from the water in the canal. Handles on the interactive allow visitors to manipulate a camera so that they can view and zoom in and out on various parts of the room. When they point at a specific location, a label is shown to indicate that more information is available, and when they press a button on the periscope, more information is shown in the form of text, imagery and videos.