Warsaw Rising Museum interactive exhibit

“1944. Topography” is an interactive exhibit for The Warsaw Rising Museum. The Museum that was opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Uprising in Warsaw, is a tribute of Warsaw’s residents to those who fought and died for independent Poland and its free capital.

We analysed the Museum’s exhibition, using an approach common in UX research. With a group of testers, we observed what were the key messages for the viewers, and what was left out. We came to the conclusion that the Museum shows the history of the Uprising through bios and photos of the fighters, excerpts of historic documents, photos and films of the destruction of the city.

The exhibition is very emotional. But what was lacking, was an overview of the story that would explain what actually happened, and why. Places, facts and battles were named, but not connected to each other. They were not comprehensible for visitors not acquainted with the geography and landmarks of Warsaw.

We decided to create an infographic that would answers basic questions: when? where? why?
We set out to create an exhibit based on data, that would compliment the emotional, heartbreaking narrative shown throughout the rest of the Museum.

The exhibit is based on an animated map of Warsaw. We combined a 3D model of the city with an animated history of the Warsaw Rising.

We visualised troop attacks, evacuation through the city sewers, supply airdrops and shelling by the nazi armoured train. The exhibit lets the user control time and see the phases of the Warsaw Rising, the daily drama of the heroic fight for the the freedom of Warsaw. It helps the viewer understand the course of the Rising and place it on the map of the city. 

The idea of the exhibit is to create a joint experience – the map can be viewed by many viewers at the same time. It works very well for groups and is highly praised by tour guides.