Inspired by our trip to Cleveland and the CMNH, the team hunkered down this week and truly began the process of figuring out what our experience was going to look like (at least in its earliest, untested incarnation).

The first step in our process was to each come up with 5 high-level fantasies one might want to live out as related to natural history and/or natural history museums. Simultaneously, we each developed ~50 potential puzzle ideas that could be categorized into these fantasies. As you could imagine, the initial ideas generated involved a lot of bones, some dinosaurs, skeletons, and the like. Most of these fantasies and puzzles were centered around setting the experience in a museum, where the players would discover something unexpected.

But as we continued to discuss, we thought back to our trip to the CMNH and recalled that the experience they were hoping for us to create was one that didn’t necessarily have to conform to strict notions of reality; it was more important to their museum (and probably others as well) that the experience be exciting and generate interest in the museum, with an ultimate goal of creating repeat visitors in the target demographic.

Remembering this bit of information, the team began to explore some ideas that were a little less obvious and definitely felt more exciting. As can be seen from the storyboard photo above, we’ve moved towards setting the experience in outer space in a future where natural history museums conduct archaeological research on distant planets. We have the initial outline for a series of fun puzzles and a sci-fi story that supports the setting, and, more importantly, an experience that should accomplish our goals of generating excitement for the museum and natural history topics.

Next week we’ll be presenting these ideas to both our faculty advisers as well as the ETC faculty at large. Will they love it? Will they hate it? Tune back in next week to find out!