Design Challenge 2019

By: Audrey Waggoner ’21

The EMC has partnered with the Heritage Winooski Mill Museum for our Spring 2019 Design Challenge. The team consists of Champlain College students coming from a diverse range of majors, from Communications to Game Programming to Filmmaking. The museum is a unique space in the old Champlain Mill that overlooks the Winooski River. It highlights the history of the textile industry in Vermont and tries to connect past events to modern-day issues.

This year the team is embarking on a project to help the museum use existing space to display traveling exhibits. Their second priority is to streamline the experience at the museum— more specifically, they want to help the museum tell the story of the Mill by creating a space that is welcoming and inviting and simplifying the way information is delivered.

“We have some interactive ideas, including a table where people will have the chance to feel different types of textiles. We also want to make a scavenger hunt that involves finding information, which will be great for the school groups that come in… I want to make the space more appealing for the audience, so when they come in it grabs their attention.” -Morgan Hills

“We want to make sure we have expectations that are realistic and achievable.” -Shea Cunha

To accomplish their goal, they are using human-centered design. Human-centered design is a process that helps people learn how to develop innovative and empathetic solutions to complex problems. It’s a method that encourages people to think beyond their pre-existing frameworks by emphasizing extensive research, ideation, and collaboration.

The team is hard at work using the human-centered design process: researching museum design and the history of the textile industry, observing tour groups, interviewing curator Miriam Block, and creating prototypes of their ideas using paper prototypes and 3D modeling, sample floor plans, and layouts in Photoshop and Illustrator. Next, the team will be reviewing each other’s proposed solutions and consolidating them into a single vision.

“I really like the dynamic our team has— we meet as a group, then split up and work on individual projects, then come back together and discuss and see what other people have made. It’s a great way to be able to work independently while keeping our project on track.” -Shea Cunha

“Our ideal outcome is just creating something that we’re proud of, that the client is happy with, and that people seem to enjoy.” -Conner Root

Be sure to check back in with the EMC throughout the Spring to see the progress the Design Challenge team is making on this project! In the meantime, you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook.