The museum features theatres, interactive touchscreen stations, projections on a digital canvas and hundreds of video clips
Canada - Winnipeg's striking new Canadian Museum for Human Rights explores the universal concept of human rights with a special emphasis on Canada.

Electrosonic was contracted to do the audio-visual design of the museum's 11 galleries, and subsequently the company directed the AV equipment installation working with local partner Advance Pro. The museum features theatres, interactive touchscreen stations, projections on a digital canvas and hundreds of video clips.

Eleven media partners were involved in the build-out requiring considerable technical coordination by Electrosonic. The company worked closely with SH Acoustics, LLC of Milford, Connecticut, on the museum's audio elements.

The project posed a number of challenges due to the building's architectural profile, which was designed by US architect Antoine Predock, working with Winnipeg's Architecture 49. Designed to move visitors onward and upward through space, the museum includes alabaster ramps and stone-clad bridges crisscrossing a 170-foot atrium.

"This is not a museum with typical box-like galleries," says Steve Haas, president and principal consultant at SH Acoustics. "There isn't a single right-angle wall, and there are triangulated gaps two to three feet wide at their largest point. Standing on the first floor you can see exhibits on the fifth floor, so in developing audio strategies and acoustic treatments, we had to keep in mind the ferocity of the building."

Theatres are scattered throughout the museum. The first one visitors encounter is in the gallery defining human rights. The open-air theatre format, with bench seating, features a three-projector edge blend on scrim; sculptures behind the scrim form part of the story. Three Barco HDX-W20 FLEX projectors are ceiling mounted; a Dataton WATCHOUT system handles edge blending.

The Indigenous Perspectives gallery has a 360ยบ theatre where visitors watch a video about First Nations' concepts of rights and responsibilities to each other and the land. It's outfitted with six Barco CNWU-61B projectors, with a seventh projector available for special presentations. Another WATCHOUT system performs the edge blend.

The gallery devoted to Canadian Journeys has a single-projector theater with a Barco CNWU-61B unit plus a two-story Digital Canvas featuring two walls of screen prints and a third wall of imagery displayed by four Panasonic PT-DS20KU projectors.

A media installation in the Rights Today gallery features three Barco CNWU-61Bs projecting onto the wall surface; edge blending is performed by a tvONE system.

Numerous AV displays and interactive stations, many of them 27-inch ELO touchscreens, deliver content and engage visitors as they make their way through the galleries. To ensure that all museum guests have full access to the interactives, Electrosonic collaborated closely with the museum team to build custom Universal Key Pads easily reachable by people with disabilities.

The gallery exploring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has four interactive stations, each with two portrait-mounted 55-inch Samsung monitors and Microsoft Kinect gesture recognition technology.

Biamp AudiaFLEX CMs were the main audio processors used in the museum.

"I'm always looking for solutions that present unique shapes, sizes and sound dispersion patterns to fit the exhibits and architecture," Haas concludes. "Electrosonic is great to work with helping us get the signal and power to the speakers. Our longtime collaboration comes together throughout a project from creating a cohesive design to the final installation and calibration."

Medialon Manager provides centralized monitoring and control of most equipment at the museum. An Electrosonic service contract provides for two on-site technicians.

The exhibit architect was Ralph Appelbaum and Associates. The exhibit fabricator was Kubik, Inc. Bruce Wyman was the consultant hired by the museum to manage the media producers

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