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Students Help British Museums Connect With Visitors

By Bonnie Gelbwasser

What do you expect from a museum? Information? Enlightenment? Interaction? Last spring, four teams of WPI juniors and seniors traveled to the London Project Center, the oldest site in WPI's global network, to help British museums grapple with this question. Their task was to suggest ways the museums might improve how they fulfill visitors' expectations.

"WPI's Interactive Project is perfect for museums," says James S. Demetry, professor emeritus of electrical engineering, who advised the museum projects, along with Ruth Smith, associate professor of philosophy and religion. "The project's focus on the interdependence of technology and society and its emphasis on teamwork is enhanced by the students' exuberance and creativity. It all comes together as team members devote an intense seven weeks to helping museum staffers organize or improve collections in ways that appeal to and enlighten visitors."

Here are highlights of four of these projects:

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