02 Jul 2019
AKC Museum of the Dog
Having one of the world’s largest collections of canine fine art, the Museum of the Dog is representative of the AKC’s passion for man’s best friend and larger identity as an advocacy, educational, philanthropic, and research institution. Merging the digital and the physical, the museum appeals to visitors of all ages through interactive and memorable exhibits. Digital activations include a “Meet the Breeds” touchscreen table surface that shares essential information about all 193 AKC-registered breeds and a “Train a Dog on the Job” exhibit teaches visitors how to train a virtual puppy with hand signals and voice commands. Hands-on moments are paired with a friendly, approachable identity to complement the classic, salon-style displays. Additional touchpoints include a graphic wall illustrating the story of AKC from its origins to today, a library holding hundreds of reference books on dogs, an activity table that serves as a place for guests to reflect on their experience through quizzes and coloring, and a community wall holding an array of physical and digital frames that feature user-generated content submitted via social media or scanned from the activity table. With its reinvented presence, Museum of the Dog shares its mission with a new generation of dog lovers through memorable experiences and distinctive design.
Relocating the museum from St. Louis to New York City, Gensler was enlisted to create a space that would capture a larger audience as well as reflect AKC’s legacy and future. The project is a powerful example of multidisciplinary design, executed by one firm, and involved designers across five areas of expertise: retail programming, brand strategy, digital integration, interior design, and exhibit design. Museums today are competing against other activities and attractions, thus it was essential to design a holistic and compelling experience. At the entrance, visitors are greeted with a digital projection of dogs trotting across the façade. Filmed in-house, Gensler employees’ dogs were captured walking on a green screen treadmill and this footage was used to create the animated silhouettes. Unique solutions were developed to support the museum’s 1,700 works of art in a relatively tight space. Rotating display walls can create infinite layouts to accommodate different exhibits. Three-dimensional objects are strategically displayed in a 34-foot tall glass vitrine that visitors can view as they make their way up the stairs to the second floor. The integration of technology modernizes the AKC brand and visitors can learn about the artwork with a Gensler-designed app, which features AR experiences that provide further context to the museum’s collection. A true destination that houses more than art, the museum offers an immersive experience while furthering the mission of the AKC.