Mission: An Immersion In History
For Las Vegas’ Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement™, creative directors sought to create a highly interactive attraction using an immersive AV system to increase public understanding of organized crime’s history and its impact on American society.
“They wanted to immerse people in the history and experience of the mob from the moment they begin the tour,” says Michael Lewis, design engineer for AVI-SPL, which handled the integration of the museum’s ambitious audio and visual elements.
“I think we had a great partnership in terms of how AVI-SPL implemented our design.” – Raymond Kent, director of innovation technology design, WRL
AVI-SPL, which is on the city’s list of preferred vendors, was tasked with bringing the museum’s AV to life while working amidst a busy hive of different trades and dealing with preservation code issues (the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places).
Action: Bringing It All Together
AVI-SPL was responsible for integrating 26 exhibits in the museum while working with the Las Vegas Historical Society and adapting solutions – including those by Christie and Panasonic — to suit the restoration code of the building.
“There was such a short time frame to get things done, as soon as they were building the exhibits, we were building the AV,” says Lewis.
AVI-SPL’s flexibility turned out to be key to bringing off the project as successfully as it did.
“I think we had a great partnership in terms of how AVI-SPL implemented our design,” says Raymond Kent, director of innovative technology design at Westlake Reed Leskosky.
The tour, which takes about three hours to complete, starts on the third floor and winds through the history of organized crime, taking guests on an interactive journey.
Touch-screens play a big role in the experience, allowing visitors to play mob trivia on interactive poker tables or spin for a winner on a slot machine. Elsewhere, visitors use touch displays to pick suspects out of a lineup and learn about women in the mob.
In the courtroom exhibit on the second floor, the synchronization of four projectors, display screens, moving light fixtures and a 5.1 surround system create a “real life” effect, complete with background images and shadows. At times, characters on any of the screens appear to interact with those on other screens. Speakers embedded in the wooden benches deliver the sounds of whispering and feet shuffling, adding to the experience of being in a live courtroom
The first floor provided another opportunity for AVI-SPL to integrate innovative technologies in a display where moving images of key figures in organized crime are projected onto curved walls. While not 3D, the effect is immersive, and a solid introduction to an audio exhibit where guests can listen to wiretap recordings.
AVI-SPL’s technology integration achieved the goal of creating an immersive experience, one where visitors are not just viewers but participators. Thanks to the work of designers and AVI-SPL’s team, museum patrons can explore interactive exhibits with touch panels, read case files of mobsters, view the organized crime history of different cities on 42-inch plasma displays and listen to actual wiretaps of recorded conversations.
Impact: A Crowd Favorite
When the museum officially opened on February 14, 2012, over 3,000 guests experienced the results of AVI-SPL’s collaboration with the Mob Museum.
“The experience of the visitors has been very positive, and that of course, is reflected in the great press and the great reviews,” says Kent.
As a testament to the project’s success, the Mob Museum was recently voted “best museum” by Nevada Magazine.
“Ultimately, we wound up with a great product for everybody,” says Kent.