The Merchant's House Museum

Redesigning the house experience
Branding, UX UI

Built in 1832, purchased in 1835, and lived in for nearly 100 years, this house is one of only six residential buildings that is both an exterior and interior landmark.


Problem

This museum is famous for its rich New York upper class history. It tells the story of how the Tredwell family and their Irish servants lived in the house, 1835 - 1865. It is tough for younger people to imagine what a day in the Mid-19th Century was like.

The current self-guided tour book is printed and laid out in a binder.

Opportunity & Solution

Modern AR technology allows us to see an additional layer of information. Combining experiential tech increases how people interact with museum content. Plus, it's fun.

01. The House Tour

The main feature of the Merchant's House app is the tour. Museum-goers select how they would like to get content about the house (audio or text.) The following is a rundown of the explorational tour.

Two considerations I kept in mind: 

1. Limit the AR technology to the most interesting parts of every popular room
2. The amount of information shouldn't overwhelm or underwhelm visitors

Explore the museum

Visitors can just wander and view their phone when they want to know about the location they're in.

The map tracker allows visitors to identify where they are and how many rooms are available for viewing.

Learn about 18th-Century home life

Each room is contains information about its function, how it was used by the family and servants, collection highlights, and a camera scanner.

AR Experience

Key rooms can be scanned to see recreations of the family interacting with certain furniture pieces. The following is the Family Room and the woman walking over to the silk sofa is Mrs. Eliza Tredwell, mother of the family. Other examples:

1. Bee hive oven and call bells in the Kitchen
2. Gasoliers and pianoforte in the Front Parlor
3. Tub in Eliza's Bedroom

02. The Residents

The house was lived in for nearly 100 years before the remaining member passed away. Museum goers can read more about the Tredwell's, their Irish servants, and the neighborhood at the time.

Read about the Residents

Learn about the Tredwell family and their Irish servants with an interactive timeline of their life at home and in society.

03. Museum Collection

This house is famous for its incredible preservation efforts, so visitors can expect to see dozens of pieces on display.

Browse the collection

Users can view the family's furniture, clothing, personals items, etc. and add pieces to their tour. When they are near the saved tour item, they will be alerted.

Work Process

App sitemap, wireframes, user flow, design assets, and more.

Design System

Logo refresh and updated palettes.

What I Learned

As a volunteer myself, I had to take a step back and just observe how people tour the house. Prototyping with Adobe XD and After Effects was a struggle at first, but I powered through. A huge thank you to the museum staff, volunteers, and visitors who expressed enthusiasm for this project.

Designer: Ashley Aviles

My role: research, content development, design, prototyping

Ashley Aviles