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Retrofit Meets Digital Signage at Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Feb 17, 2010 4:37 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

The Old and the New

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AVI Systems installed two Atlas Sound FC104 loudspeakers at each kiosk and 18 JBL Control 24CT ceiling loudspeakers throughout the museum. A Crestron Pro2 control system provides audio and video control.

Audio and Control

The museum is divided into three sections—18th, 19th, and 20th centuries—with 22 zones of audio. For the distributed audio system, AVI Systems installed two Atlas Sound FC104 loudspeakers at each kiosk and 16 JBL Control 24CT ceiling loudspeakers throughout the three sections (with two more playing back audio at the orientation signage). Using the Crestron control system, the museum staff can shut off the audio zones in a desired section of the museum and hold a special event there. When holding special events, the staff is able to go easily into Event mode using a Crestron TPMC-8X touchpanel that is tied to the Crestron control system. When Event mode is on, all kiosks are disabled, exhibit audio is turned off, and the six newly installed JBL Control 23T voice reinforcement loudspeakers are activated. The control system also allows the staff to turn on and off all displays and exhibit audio during regular museum hours.

The control system also includes a Crestron WPR-48 wireless handheld remote so that at a touch of a button, a museum tour guide can temporarily mute a particular exhibit’s audio. If the tour guide forgets to unmute the audio, the audio will return to its normal level after 5 minutes.

AVI trained the museum staff to update graphics, modify the schedule, and use the new control system, and through AVI’s Digital Media Group Helpdesk, the company is also able to provide ongoing training. Currently, the museum has contracted AVI Systems helpdesk and service support for one year with the option to renew on an annual basis. The service contract includes two on-site maintenance visits a year. Otherwise, all problems, training, and software updates can be addressed remotely. The museum has only had trouble getting one file to play back since the installation was completed in August, and AVI was able to remotely diagnose and fix the problem.

As a retrofit, logistical challenges are common, and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s $100,000 installation was no exception. Because the facility had to stay open during the installation process meant AVI’s team had to take extra steps to ensure their work was as minimally invasive to the facility’s patronage as possible.

Vertical Trend Watch

What trends are you seeing the museum vertical? “The younger generation expects an immersive AV show when they go into these facilities. Technology really needs to be engaging, yet it needs to be part of the exhibit. They’re looking for ways to make it more natural. [At the Wisconsin Veterans Museum], we had to work within some confines of this existing typically old-fashioned-looking kiosk, but in some of these newer installations, they’ll looking to hide technology or look at different types of projection equipment that isn’t typical such as LCD screens. There are a lot of different AV spaces out there that need to be retrofitted just like this particular museum. That’s where if you have existing relationships, you have a real opportunity. We’re also seeing a lot of corporations wanting to create their own museums to keep track of company history. We’re seeing we’re able to use this same type of technology for our corporate clients and even our higher education clients.”—Chris Roddick, DMG technical manager at AVI Systems

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