Jean Ho Chu, Paul Clifton, Daniel Harley, Jordanne Pavao, and Ali Mazalek. 2015. Mapping Place: Supporting Cultural Learning through a Lukasa-inspired Tangible Tabletop Museum Exhibit. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 261-268. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2677199.2680559
Museums are exploring new ways of using emerging digital technologies to enhance the visitor experience. In this context, our research focuses on designing, developing and studying interactions for museum exhibits that introduce cultural concepts in ways that are tangible and embodied. We introduce here a tangible tabletop installation piece that was designed for a museum exhibition contrasting Western and African notions of mapping history and place. Inspired by the Lukasa board, a mnemonic device used by the Luba peoples in Central Africa, the tabletop piece enables visitors to learn and understand symbolic and nonlinguistic mapping concepts that are central to the Lukasa by creating and sharing stories with each other. In this paper we share our design process, a user study focusing on children and learning, and design implications on how digital and tangible interaction technologies can be used for cultural learning in museum exhibits.