LEGOS! - Oslo Teknisk Museum - Part 2

To continue my reflection on my recent trip to the Oslo Teknisk Museum (see Part 1) I'm going to describe a second temporary exhibit - the "Lego Festival." I've always been a big Lego fan - as a child, and more recently as a designer seeking simple prototyping tools.

The exhibit was on the second floor of the museum, and there was a fairly long line at the bottom of the staircase of people waiting to be granted entry. We were able to slip past by promising to only observe and not "play."

The space consisted of several large tables of lego structures organized as a colorful city model.

The space was crowded as well, with many parents hovering along the outside as their children examined the the creations.

Some parents seemed to be quite involved in the play as well - working over the shoulder of their child.

The most interesting space of all was probably the "construction table." Apart from the rather formally organized existing structures, were a few tables with huge piles of Lego pieces laying in the center. This is where children were doing the actual building before their creations were moved to the cityscape.

Technologically, this exhibit was pretty basic as lego has been around forever. BUT the social interactions happening in the space were just so much more developed than anything else in the rest of the museum. Children were collaborating, sharing pieces, discussing their creations. I got the sense that some of these interactions were occurring across family groups. Socially, this was great, but it also felt like a larger scaled version of an at home activity. This is perfectly fine, of course, but it did make the other, more elaborate and impressive exhibits seem solitary by comparison.

How can other exhibits and museum experiences create social learning environments like these Legos? My hope is that mobile technology may be one way to provide this extra social layer to the phenomena of existing exhibits. Maybe mobile phones can help create exhibits as social communities.

How? I'm not certain yet, but if you have ideas, let me know.

-- Rolf Steier

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