History 9832B is a studio course on interactive exhibit design, intended primarily for public historians and digital humanists. Students will learn how to create interactive exhibits through a series of hands-on projects that teach the basics of interaction design, physical computing, and desktop fabrication. No prior experience is necessary, but History 9808A: Digital History might be useful if you don’t have much experience with computers. Preference will be given to students in the public history MA program, but other graduate students may take it with my permission. Contact me at wturkel@uwo.ca for more information.



Required Software

Students must purchase a license for Cycling 74’s Max 6 + Gen software. A 12-month license costs US $80. This software is installed on some of the machines in the classroom so you don’t have to purchase it right away, but you will eventually want a copy for your own project. For this course you only need the 12-month license, but a permanent license is also available for US $300 if you would like to continue to program in Max in the future. The software is available for both Windows and Mac computers.


In this course you will be graded on your documentation of the design process (25%), the project(s) that you develop (40%), your presentation of the project(s) in multiple media (25%), and reflective blogging (10%). As with History 9808A, your final grade will reflect how much you’ve learned or accomplished in this course, rather than any overall level of technical attainment.

You will notice that there are not any formal assignments for the course. I expect you to document your design process regularly on your blog and in other media.


We have three spaces where you will be able to work on your projects.  The digital classroom Lawson Hall 2270C, where the course meets, has a number of iMacs with Max 6 and Gen installed and an overhead LCD projector. At the beginning of most classes, I will use the room to give brief demonstrations before students begin working on their own projects. The digital lab Lawson Hall 2270B has more computers, printers, scanners, a computer-controlled paper cutter, a vinyl sign cutter, cameras and recorders, and Wacom Cintiq pen displays.  LH 2270B and 2270C are appropriate for digital work; photography, videography and audio production; light construction tasks such as sewing, or working with paper, plastic, foamcore or cardboard; and for solderless electronics.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to store things in the room.  Contact me if you need to store work-in-process and we’ll figure something out.  You can also contact me to borrow cameras, tripods, lighting kits, digital audio recorders, a green screen, real-time 3D scanners (Kinect and Xtion) and other equipment that is usually locked up.

I also have a very small laboratory on the 9th floor of the Social Science Centre (9326 & 9331).  You are welcome to work in the laboratory when I am there, which will be on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Unfortunately, the lab only holds about 3 or 4 people, so you will have to contact me in advance and schedule a time when you want to use it.  The lab has facilities for 3D printing, 3D scanning, light CNC milling, very light woodwork, moldmaking and casting, soldering, and advanced electronics (there is an oscilloscope, circuit design lab and very large supply of active and passive components).  You might also occasionally arrange to use the lab when Devon Elliott is going to be working there, although you will not be able to engage in the full range of activities if I am not present (for safety reasons). Devon is a PhD student who is working with me and using desktop fabrication and physical computing for his own dissertation research.

Winter 2011 Projects


Read more about these projects:

Winter 2010 Projects

Winter 2009 Projects

Online Resources

Don’t worry about trying to master all of this material at once.  These links are here to serve as reference material for the whole course.  Of course, if you already have a method for managing digital information, you can incorporate these sources and others into your system right away.

Interaction Design and Visualization

Making and Hacking



Physical Computing


Desktop Fabrication

Digital Representations

3D Photography, Scanning and Visualization

3D Printing