Escaping the Traditional Learning Environment: Wigwam Escape


Saturday, April 06, 2019: 11:00am - 12:30pm - Back Bay AB: MWX: What is digital, what is “real” in the (immersive) museum?

Lauren Bennett, Institute for American Indian Studies, USA

How do you get people of all ages excited to participate in learning about Native American histories and cultures while fostering an empathetic connection? Wigwam Escape, running out of the Institute for American Indian Studies, is a new exhibit/attraction that addresses this issue. It is an educational escape room that takes participants back to a Native American Village in the year 1518, where they solve puzzles based off of daily life activities and responsibilities from that time period. With this experience, we hope to revitalize how history can be taught in a fun and interactive setting, providing an alternative, or supplement, to a guided museum tour. By embedding information within thematic game puzzles that require critical and productive thinking, visitors have context for ideas and concepts through game play and facilitated conversation.

During this session, we will discuss the creation process of Wigwam Escape, including information about game design and how this affects learning, memory retention and overall engagement. We will also discuss the design of Wigwam Escape, how we took history and turned it into puzzles, and the implementation of the game itself. This presentation is designed for museums, historic sites or any institution that wants to engage kinesthetic or tactile learners in an immersive and unconventional way.

Ahles, Harry E. and Magee, Dennis
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Banks, Marc, Phd and Lavin, Lucianne, PhD
Connecticut’s First Fisherman: The Lebeau Fish Camp and Weir. Connecticut State Archaeological Preserve Booklet, 2008.
Biface - Traceske collection - IAIS collections. Biface was molded and cast for use in the spear. This biface is from a collection of objects recovered from the Farmington River valley of Connecticut.
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Kalin, Jeff
Primitive Technologies, Inc. Wigwam construction, including bark harvesting, tie production and platform design.
Lavin, Lucianne, PhD
Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples: What Archaeology, History, and Oral Tradition Teach Us About Their Communities and Cultures, Yale University Press. 2013