The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Commemorative Solutions
Mar 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex, New York
The newly opened Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex certainly has a New York flavor. Located in New York's SoHo neighborhood, it's mere blocks from long-gone downtown nightspots that showcased the New York rock scene during its late-'70s/early-'80s heyday. These locales are given their due at the facility on a topographical model of Manhattan that's the length of some studio apartments. Like New York, the annex is fairly cramped, which proved to be a great challenge for integration firm Acme Professional — based in New Market, Md., with an office in New York.
In late 2006, the well-established Broadway sound-design firm Acme Sound Partners spun off its Acme Professional integration wing, led by veteran installer Pete Cosmos. The parent firm had worked with Running Subway Productions on the theatrical version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Cleveland-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame teamed with Running Subway to produce the annex attraction in New York, and Running Subway suggested Acme as the systems integrator for the audio, video, lighting, and control portions of the attraction — which opened late last year.
Acme principal Tom Clark explains that the people at the main Hall of Fame in Cleveland were heavily involved in the process of designing the New York annex, from helping secure rights to recorded music to setting guidelines for how artifacts were to be protected. Music is the raison d'être of the museum annex, and the Cleveland team did not want the central attraction to blast through a cacophonous series of loudspeakers.
“They clearly wanted to be able to honor the music, and the only way they could imagine doing that was to make it a private affair,” Clark says. “And they were also trying to make the process of going through the museum, for the visitor, as organic as possible.”
That meant visitors wouldn't be punching in a three-digit number to hear an audio track associated with an artifact. Striking such standard options, Acme needed another solution that would play music automatically and privately. The firm thus turned to Sennheiser's GuidePort system, making the museum the first high-profile installation in the United States to make use of the GuidePort system, according to Sennheiser. Using GuidePort, visitors don headphones and an iPod-like device with simple control buttons. The annex has 600 GPEK3202-4-1 GuidePort receivers.
The tight confines of the space became the main challenge for Acme as it attempted to define discrete zones that would trigger audio playback on the GuidePort devices.
“The exhibits are quite close together at the annex, and the system has physical requirements about proximity of trigger zones,” Clark says. “We did quite a lot of experimentation early to precisely predict how the trigger mechanisms were going to work on our ground plan.”
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus