The Science of Spying, an interactive exhibition devoted to modern espionage designed for children, held in London at the Science Museum and in the US at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
The Science of Spying, an interactive exhibition devoted to modern espionage designed for children, was held in London at the Science Museum and in the US at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis afterwards.
Designing an exhibition that will travel throughout the world has meant ensuring content is not specific to the UK and also making sure each element is as durable as possible. The duplicate 750 sq m show has been designed for maximum flexibility, offering an insight into spying techniques and exploring issues surrounding identity in modern society.
Jump Studios won the job in a competitive pitch on the basis of the strong conceptual approach to the brief. Commissioned by the Science Museum’s exhibition arm The Science of…, the exhibition was arranged into seven zones, which took visitors through a spy mission from initial recruitment to final escape from a hostile facility.
The experience begins in the ticketing area outside the exhibition, known as the Recruitment zone, designed to resemble an innocuous street scene with magazine stands acting as ticket booths. The main entrance doors are disguised by industrial PVC strip curtains inset with three phone boxes with false backs.
Once inside, visitors are confronted by the Spy Skills zone, designed as an area to test nine core requirements to be a professional spy. A series of free-standing units finished in primary colours and shaped like Tetris blocks contain a range of puzzles both physical and digital. A maze of interactives are negotiated, encompassing such activities as dressing up, sifting through rubbish for clues and lock-picking.
The use of lightboxes and shadow effect graphics are intended to make it feel as if the zone is being negotiated by torchlight, reinforced by a lighting design using torch-like fittings.
Spy Tech is the third zone, which plays with concepts of scale with three main units: a giant computer, two surveillance vans and an array oversized illuminated keyboard keys, which vibrate and play harmonizing noises when sat upon.