A prototype museum exhibit that would allow visitors to interact with dynamic visualizations of census data.
Museums play a role in American intellectual life as places for members of the public to gather, learn, and engage in discourse about human experience and knowledge (Conn, 1998). As cultural and historical research is informed by increasingly complex information, museums can support visitor discourse around such complex data. To this end, we will construct a prototype museum exhibit, CoCensus, at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, using an innovative combination of an ambient data map display and RFID technology to allow visitors to interact with dynamic visualizations of census data on a local map. This innovative design will enable multiple visitors to cooperatively investigate and discuss complex data and the personal dimensions of American identity. This work highlights important issues for designing public educational spaces to support collaborative data visualization, and take steps towards making large digital resources accessible within the social learning milieu of museums.