About the Museum

Our Vision

  •  Build an online resource that helps tell the many stories of engineering achievements at the University of Illinois.
  • Note not only the discoveries made here, but identify the people involved and how they came to make those discoveries.
  • Showcase the place of the University of Illinois as a catalyst of innovation, bringing together different people and different ideas, and sparking new unexpected solutions.

The Challenges

  • The pieces of the stories are distributed across numerous locations and times, and interconnect in complicated multiple ways.
  • The stories involve actual artifacts, buildings, and laboratories – some still there, others gone, moved, repurposed.
  • These stories also involve abstract ideas, personal relationships, and serendipitous connections.
  • How can we connect people, concepts, objects and places distributed across time and space in ways that enable visitors to have self-directed museum-like experiences?

Our Solution

  •  Construction of a prototype that combines several free web tools to create a virtual shell that links these many objects, places, concepts, people and stories together.
  • This shell organizes diverse information in ways that allow visitors with a variety of interests, knowledge and skills to discover and delve into the many stories of engineering achievements.
  • Extensive experimenting and rapid prototyping are being used to engage a widening audience, and to enable visitors to contribute their own knowledge and pieces of the stories.

The Future 

  • Our next step after this initial prototype stage will be to develop our own online platform that seamlessly incorporates all of the many disparate tools and features of this project.
  • Our hope is that the Illinois Distributed Museum will one day contain information on important people and ideas from all of the units on the Illinois campus.
  • As the museum grows, so will audience participation, with many more stories and insights being provided by former students and faculty.