Portfolio of Jesse Heinzen

Play the Past
Mobile Game
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul - 2014, 2017

Play the Past is an engaging student-directed field trip experience supported by technology. Students use iPods to explore the Then Now Wow exhibit. They enter historical situations and, through critical thinking and collaboration, earn badges and collect digital items for later use. Back at school, the interaction continues, as students and teachers can build upon the experience through further research and classroom activities.

Interactions within Then Now Wow include earning a day’s wage in an iron mine, playing the role of a hunter or clerk and making trades in an 1800s fur trade environment, exploring contemporary expressions of longstanding Dakota traditions, and surviving life on the prairie in a sod house. The game is integrated with physical interactives in the exhibit so that players receive real time feedback on their device when interacting with exhibit components. They can also trigger events through the game to change the exhibit environment, such as a locust storm in the sod house environment.

In 2017, the game expanded to the
Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit at the Minnesota History Center. The expansion added three new hubs: Depression, War and Boom to compliment content in that exhibit. New AR (augmented reality) functionality was also added, allowing students to meet characters in historical images and find enemy threats in a giant wall mural.

Play the Past was developed in collaboration with ARIS Games and utilizes the ARIS platform for the in-gallery app experience. The original experience in Then Now Wow was funded in part by a grant from IMLS. The expansion project was funded in part by NEH.

Bronze, Education Category, 2014 American Alliance of Museums MUSE Award
2014 AASLH Award of Merit

Multimedia Director: Creative and Technical Direction, User Experience Design, Physical Interactive Integration, Media and System Design
(On staff with the Minnesota Historical Society)
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