Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music exhibition by the National Museum of American Jewish History celebrates the centennial birthday of the famed conductor/composer. The “Samples of Faith” media installation invites visitors at the beginning of the exhibition to explore how Bernstein’s Jewish identity and other key influences in his early life were the building blocks to his most notable compositions.
Through a custom-built table and set of interactive wood cubes, visitors can learn different aspects of six Bernstein compositions.
Famous works like West Side Story and Candide are each represented by a wood cube engraved with unique illustrations or Hebrew inscriptions. The meaning of each side is unlocked when placed into the table’s central dock and visitors watch videos played on a wood projection surface.
“Samples of Faith” was the stand-out media experience for museum visitors, the press, and Bernstein’s family. Press reviews at opening described “Samples of Faith” as “a clever interactive installation” (https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/260093/leonard-bernstein-behind-the-music) and “one of the most fascinating items in the exhibit” (http://pjvoice.org/2018/03/23/leonard-bernstein-exhibit-inspires-at-nmajh/#.XGXUui3MzOR).
From young school groups to members over 60, the museum’s audience of vastly different ages —and varying degrees of familiarity with Bernstein’s work—were able to quickly engage with archival imagery and sound through an open invitation to play.
Combining tactile, well-crafted wood materials with light-weight technology, “Samples of Faith” allowed visitors to have a simple and memorable introduction to Bernstein’s creative process.
Concept/interaction/physical design and media production by Dome
Technology by Michael Dreiling
Wood fabrication by MakerB Studio and Contour