With its reopening in a stunning new 100,000-square-foot building on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) chose Electrosonic to integrate extensive audio-visual technology to exhibit and interpret the American Jewish experience.
NMAJH is the nation’s only museum dedicated solely to telling the story of Jews in America from their arrival more than 350 years ago to the present day.
Electrosonic was challenged to deliver AV systems that met the needs of RomeAntics, the media and AV consultant, and Local Projects, exhibit AV and interactive content providers, while using a consistent approach throughout the museum and a minimum of different equipment types.
Visitors start their tour on the fourth floor of the atrium-style building where “Foundations of Freedom” profiles the earliest Jewish communities in America and their everyday life from colonial times through the late 1800s. The “Foundations of Freedom Theater” is an open space with two perpendicular walls that serve as projection surfaces. Five projectors are used to create one continuous image or a mosaic of images across the screens.
In this same area the “Innovation and Expansion” gallery features a “map table” on which animated sequences selected by visitors on an adjacent touchscreen are displayed via two projectors. The “Establishing Communities” gallery utilizes Dakota FA-501 directional loudspeaker arrays for localized sound; “The Revolution and the Constitution” presentation is shown on a 46-inch Samsung LCD panel. And the “Purim Ball” gallery showcases projection within the architectural elements of a 19th century ballroom setting.
On the third floor, visitors explore the “Dreams of Freedom” presentation, which chronicles the immigrant experience that reshaped the American Jewish community. The exhibits begin with three projectors displaying onto a screen surface, image-masked by the media producer to give the illusion of a number of random sheets of paper.
Interactive displays include “Moving to America,” an immigrant-processing experience, and an old-fashioned “Schoolroom” gallery where the chalkboard’s projected writing appears real. The sit-down “Entertainment Theater” shows films from early Hollywood; the “Competing Visions” interactive display features a Sony 52-inch LCD touchscreen and an Innovox Sound Bar; World War II newsreels are presented on twin screens above the exhibit walls.
On the second floor, “Choices and Challenges of Freedom” marks the period from 1945 to today. The introductory show is displayed on five wall-mounted, 46-inch Samsung LCD panels; a small interactive theater documents the rise of the suburban synagogue building; a model suburban kitchen features family home movies projected onto a tabletop.
In the “Contemporary Issues Forum,” video recording and object recognition facilitated by Apple Mac Pro video processing allows visitors to engage in realtime, multi-participant discussions about important issues affecting the American Jewish community. “It’s Your Story” invites visitors to step into a video recording booth and share their family histories, which the museum will archive for public viewing and online sharing.
Upon reaching the first floor, visitors tour the “Only in America Gallery/Hall of Fame,” which showcases the achievements of 18 Jewish Americans. The space combines artifacts with a large projected image display, from five edge-blended projectors, on two impressive curved screens.
For the NMAJH’s large projection screens that required edge blending, Electrosonic integrated Christie DS+750 projectors; smaller screens use Projection Design F22SX, F12SX and F32-1080 projectors. Flat panel displays include 46-inch Samsung LCDs and 19-inch Dell LCDs. Touchscreens include Elo 19-inch touch LCD, Dynamic Displays 12-inch LCD with Dawar overlay and Primeview 24-inch touch LCD.
Adtec Signedge players were used for shows requiring simple single and multi-screen HD playback; complex multi-projector shows use Dataton WATCHOUT running on PCs.
Electrosonic sourced most audio from the associated video source, whether from the HD player or WATCHOUT; where exhibits require audio only, the sound is delivered via Medialon Audio Server. Audio EQ is handled by BSS Soundweb London Blu equipment. Tannoy IW6, DI-6 and DI-8 loudspeakers predominate.