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Creating an exciting Winter Trail leaflet that transforms into a fun game

Manchester Museum is home to an array of treasures from the natural world and the many cultures it is home to. Highlights include a T.rex and fossils of other pre-historic creatures, ancient Egyptian artefacts and live amphibians and reptiles. You can handle objects from the collection, take part in hands-on activities or enjoy a glass of wine of cup of coffee whilst exploring the latest ideas in science, culture and the arts.

In an age of shortened attention spans, Manchester museum needs to actively engage and educate those who walk through their doors. Manchester Museum understands that games are great tools for learning. Beyond just a learning perspective, games also foster a wonderful sense of connection. It was up to me as a designer to work together with our Arts and Culture team at Epigram Communications to come up with a new game idea for their 'Winter Nature Trail'.

Our approach

With today’s unique struggles in holding visitors’ attention, engagement is everything. Gamification is a great way for any institution to educate and engage with its audience. We understood that oftentimes, individuals experience better retention when they can physically or digitally interact with a topic, and to keep things fresh, games can be played in a myriad of ways.

While working in the Arts and Culture design team at Epigram communications we understood who the audience is developed our game for this audience. To do this we decided to keep the game idea simple for the children so that they can have great gameplay. We were also thoughtful in making a good game that could be made widely available to everyone in the museum. We were willing to get creative, almost any concept or idea can be improved with gamification. It was important to consider gaming experiences for the museum's visitors.

While working with my team I designed a range of eye catching front covers for the front of the A5 leaflet using colours inspired by the colours of the Winter Trail artifacts. I also followed the musuems brand guideline rules and included the the Manchester Museum fonts and logo in an appropiate way. Now it was time work together as a team and design the game. We asked the children to hunt around the museum and find a number of artifacts that were shown in photographs on the back of the flyer. When the children find the artifact the children can then fill the missing letters in the spaces provided that reveal the correct name of the artifact. Wonderfully the children can then recycle the flyer by cutting out the strips of coloured paper provided to make a paper chain tree decoration. In playing this game the children can learn, recycle by making something decorative and also have fun.



Our game offered families a better grasp of the concepts so that they can engage with the lesson. The game is a great way of allowing Manchester Museum visitors to have agency over often quite complex areas of content, allowing to explore ideas and content in a very interactive way. Not only did our game have a purpose but it was also fun and stopped museum visitors passively consuming the exhibitions. Our game kept things fun and fresh and provided an experience at the intersection of connection, learning, and enjoyment for the children or in fact anyone who walks through the museum’s doors.

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The game design helped visitors connect with the museum and taught the children about the museum exhibitions in an entertaining way where they are probably not even aware that they are learning.