The National Museum of Psychology opened to the public on June 27th. While not the biggest museum project we have worked on, (the Psychology Museum) it’s one of the best. It was a very rewarding experience working with the amazing staff of the Cummings Center throughout the museum’s development.
The museum is the brainchild of Dr. Dave Baker. It came out of his desire to make the Center’s incredible psychology archives available to a wide audience. More than 11 years ago, over dinner, Dave expresses his idea for such a museum to us and asked if we would help. After a new building and a lot of fundraising later, Dave and his staff were in position to take on the project for real.
The idea behind the museum was to make the public aware of the extensive role psychology plays in our lives. From the development of the character of Wonder Woman to the selling of Coca Cola, to our understanding of racial attitudes, psychology has been a key player. The museum conveys this notion from presenting engaging content. Through the use of great artifacts, clever design (by the exhibit design firm ROTO) and challenging interactives, the world of psychology opens to the visitor.
On opening day, we watched as guests were fascinated to discover concepts about asylums, marveled at home movies of Sigmund Freud and failed to match the reflexes of baseball great Babe Ruth. One exhibit highlights the legend’s extraordinary reaction times from a test given to him in 1938. My personal inability to successfully “multi-task “was demonstrated to me through the “drive you mad” interactive.
The National Museum of Psychology is worth the visit! This project demonstrates that a museum doesn’t have to be big in size to be big in ideas and impact. In its 8,500 sq. ft. it is more of an experience than museums 10 times its size.