Blue Telescope, the interactive exhibit agency, has completed a pair of interactive projects which will educate and entertain visitors on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. Working for Evelyn Hill Inc. which provides visitor services at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Blue Telescope developed the programs for use with the Microsoft Surface multi-touch device to provide engaging ways for visitors of all ages to explore the history of Ellis Island and to celebrate the ongoing story of immigration to the United States.
Welcome to Ellis Island allows users to put themselves in the shoes of an immigrant child making their way through processing at Ellis Island. Up to four guests, playing simultaneously, learn about the different steps an immigrant might encounter as they become a citizen of the United States. At each step, a mini-game or interactive opportunity presents itself to ensure an engaging you-are-there experience.
For example, players must identify the chalk mark symbols used by doctors during their infamous six-second medical examinations, complete a puzzle used historically to determine mental wellness, and answer a question posed by inspectors in the main hall. Guests are advised to pay close attention as incorrect responses may lead to deportation. Utilizing the unique, multi-touch technology of the Microsoft Surface, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the journey their own ancestors may have undertaken to become a part of the fabric of America.
Immigration from around the world puts immigration to the United States in a larger perspective by allowing visitors to learn the rich histories behind specific ethnic groups’ contributions to the melting pot of America. On an interactive map of the world, historical photos, immigration statistics, and interesting facts from 30 nations on 6 continents paint a broader picture of traditions, vocabulary, and culinary delights that may have originated in faraway lands, but have been embraced and welcomed as part of American culture.
The two interactive programs are installed on Ellis Island within a dedicated space in the museum’s gift shop which recently completed an extensive renovation. The introduction of the two Microsoft Surface units and their vibrant multi-user programs into Evelyn Hill Inc.’s themed retail environment ensures a unique visitor experience for over four million Ellis Island guests per year.