IXD301 : Visiting the Elements Exhibit at the Ulster Museum

At the end of week 7’s Elements Project briefing  we were given some tasks. One of which was to visit the Ulster Museum and check out their Elements Exhibition. I took me awhile to find time to but I was able to head out there this last Tuesday.

This exhibit was on the 3rd floor of the museum and rather than taking the lift straight up I decided to wander around all the other exhibits as well. It was really cool to see such a focus on Northern Irish history. Mainly because the last museum I had been to was in Belgium and majority of their exhibits were filled with artifacts that had been stolen from other cultures (many of which were sacred) so it felt really icky to walk through but this experience was delightful. I also greatly enjoyed walking through the nature exhibits.


When I finally made my way to the third floor I was welcomed into the Elements exhibit with this big arch that gave me a brief explanation of the elements, giving me a bit of an idea what to expect out of the exhibit.

As I went into the exhibit, the first section I immediately headed to was ‘Elements of Wealth and Fashion’. The idea I was going with for my Elements project was some kind of elements focused dress up app aimed for kids aimed at girls in particular to encourage them to take interest in stem. It made sense to take a look at some of the elements in fashion to help give me ideas for how to approach my elements dress up app.



There were lots of really cool fashion artifacts (also a lot of spoons?)  made with all sorts of different elements and compounds including silver, gold, carbon, nickel, copper, chromium, niobium, titanium, uranium, zirconium, bismuth, aluminium, rhodium, zinc and so on… I learned a lot about the types of elements that make up accessories and how a lot of the time they are made up mostly of cheaper metals nickel or copper and then thinly coated with the likes of silver, gold and chromium. (This goes for spoons as well.) Sometimes they might look like gold or silver but are actually made of look-a-like metals that maybe just aren’t quite as lustrous and expensive looking. (Once again, this also applies to spoons which are apparently a long running indicator of wealth?). It was all very fascinating indeed. Although, I was realising that there wasn’t much if anything to do with textiles and well clothing. I began to think I was limiting myself and not in a “it’s grand i’ll just think outside the box ” kinda way, in a “I’m starting to get wee bit worried about the logistics of this idea now” kinda way. I then decided to keep going and look around all the other sections of the exhibit for inspiration.


There were lots of cool things to see  like the elements that make up the universe and the deadly elements used in old timey makeup and medicine.

Last week (wk8) in class when we were discussing our elements projects ideas in groups, Kyle had had suggested that instead of dressing up what if it was exploring elements found in items that are in a doll’s house or a girls bedroom. For whatever reason when I was looking at the lazer discs and what all metals they can come coated with, I got to thinking about the bedroom idea and how way more doable it is. On the bus home I got to thinking about how to approach that concept and I came up with an idea I quite like. What if the scientist narrator is your in game older sister who’s going to college to study chemistry. You are helping her unpack her stuff and make her new dorm room look all nice but as you go you have to learn about the key elements of the items you unpack to keep progressing. I was also thinking about how to add extra customizability, so I thought what if there where mini games or quizzes with all the elements you’ve learned about and from them you can earn special “sister” currency which allows you to unlock alt styles of items and special posters and wallpaper to stick up. Honestly, I’m feeling way more enthusiastic about this project now so this trip was definitely beneficial.

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