The Interactive Constitution

National Consitution Center

For the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, the National Constitution Center wanted to launch an exhibit on the three amendments that make up what is often referred to as the “Second Founding” in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

Overview

  • Mixed Reality projection augments physical text with digital text annotation and media
  • Custom content management system allows for content to be updated and edited over time.

Credits

  • National Constitution Center
    Content Development
    AV Integration
  • Potion
    Concept Development
    Interaction & Visual Design
    Software Development
  • Hadley Exhibits
    Fabrication
  • Tom Donnelly
    Research & Writing
  • Kurt Lash
    Research

Though most of us learned bits and pieces from these amendments in school like the abolition of slavery or birthright citizenship for example, the history behind these texts, the decisions that shaped them, and what they have meant in practice are far less familiar.  By surfacing the stories and battles behind these documents, we sought demystify them and demonstrate that a brief text can contain a deep history that still shapes how we live our lives today.

Though most of us learned bits and pieces from these amendments in school like the abolition of slavery or birthright citizenship for example, the history behind these texts, the decisions that shaped them, and what they have meant in practice are far less familiar.  By surfacing the stories and battles behind these documents, we sought demystify them and demonstrate that a brief text can contain a deep history that still shapes how we live our lives today.

Situated within the Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality exhibit, the interactives begin with the final text of each amendment.  This text is physically printed on a drafting table surface so users can feel the individual words that make up each amendment, underscoring their relative permanence.  As users touch the physical text, the table activates projections that draw out the themes and rights contained in the selected clause; citizenship, due process etc. These themes can then be analyzed in multimedia wall mounted presentations.  The interactive also includes a timeline of the events that influenced the framers in the run up to ratification as well as previous drafts of the amendment text. In reviewing each draft, visitors can see how the text evolved over time, discover the authors who fought for and against those changes, and learn why even the smallest word choice was so contentious and influential in what our country is to this day.

Situated within the Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality exhibit, the interactives begin with the final text of each amendment.  This text is physically printed on a drafting table surface so users can feel the individual words that make up each amendment, underscoring their relative permanence.  As users touch the physical text, the table activates projections that draw out the themes and rights contained in the selected clause; citizenship, due process etc. These themes can then be analyzed in multimedia wall mounted presentations.  The interactive also includes a timeline of the events that influenced the framers in the run up to ratification as well as previous drafts of the amendment text. In reviewing each draft, visitors can see how the text evolved over time, discover the authors who fought for and against those changes, and learn why even the smallest word choice was so contentious and influential in what our country is to this day.

Credits

  • National Constitution Center
    Content Development
    AV Integration
  • Potion
    Concept Development
    Interaction & Visual Design
    Software Development
  • Hadley Exhibits
    Fabrication
  • Tom Donnelly
    Research & Writing
  • Kurt Lash
    Research