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How to (Mine) Craft a Meaningful Experience

Do not touch mobs! Some of them might explode.

Whoa. Exploding objects are not what you’d expect in a museum. But that exact warning is posted throughout the newest exhibit of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC).

Clearly, at Minecraft: The Exhibition, visitors are playing in survival mode.*

When I took my kids to the exhibit two weeks ago, we encountered several hostile mobs, including a skeleton, an ender, a zombie, and a creeper who does, in fact, explode. (For the record, we did not touch any of them.)

It’s truly impressive – and I’m not just talking about the mobs that detonate. The 6,000-square-foot exhibit fills more than half the museum’s space, immersing visitors in a Minecraft world complete with life-size creatures, a working crafting table, day-to-night lighting, and authentic sound effects. The exhibit, which was developed by the Museum of Pop Culture in partnership with MoJang Studios, is likely the most complex exhibit the MAC has ever hosted, according to the museum’s director.

It’s also a far cry from the museum experiences I had as a kid. All I can remember are dusty artifacts behind plexiglass with dry-as-a-bone descriptions. And absolutely everything was hands-off.

Oh, how times have changed.

Today, museums like the MAC have shifted the focus from the artifacts themselves to the audience’s experience. An exhibit’s purpose, then, is not just to communicate information about a subject or collection, but to connect with the audience in a meaningful and visually appealing way.

It’s the same purpose behind the experiential design we do at helveticka.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the Minecraft exhibit yet, you’ve still got time. It runs through December 31. And according to my middle schooler, who is never melodramatic, it’ll be 1,000 percent worth your time.

As long as you don’t touch the mobs.

Minecraft Exhibit

*Note: In case you aren’t one of the 140 million people who play Minecraft every month, the popular video game offers multiple modes, including creative and survival, and a “mob” is a mobile entity, or a living being in the game.

12.05.2023, 11:40am
by Marit Fischer

We’re 1000% glad you came, Denise. Long live the unexploded mobs and formidable design partners like helveticka.



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