Neuroscientist Dr. Tedi Asher at the Peabody Essex Museum

How Cool Is This? Employing Neuroscience to Make Exhibits More Engaging, More Eye-catching

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

In 2017, we are celebrating our 30th year in business.

A primary reason for our success is our commitment to innovating and inventing, which includes placing a strong emphasis on smarter and more effective ways to use technology to provide our clients with value and competitive advantage.

Willwork and its team even considers itself a bit techie/nerdy/wonkish.

Nick Cave Soundsuits

Nick Cave Soundsuits in the Seamans Gallery at Peabody Essex Museum (photograph by Kathy Tarantola, courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum)

Indeed, here on this blog we are inclined to discuss technology as it relates to exhibits and events and tradeshows.

You know, then, it would have had to capture our attention when we saw making news that the world famous Peabody Essex Museum (P.E.M.) in Salem, MA has, as described in a May 7 Boston Globe story, taken “what is being hailed as an unprecedented step in the museum world: hiring a neuroscientist to help apply the tenets of modern brain science to enhance the museum-going experience.”

Indeed, Willwork – beyond the exhibit halls and convention centers – works in some of the nation’s most respected and renowned museums and cultural institutions.

Our skilled trades personnel are entrusted with the care and handling of  precious artifacts and priceless historical items.

So, yeah, what is going on at P.E.M. has Willwork interested.

The neuroscientist whom the Peabody Essex Museum hired is Dr. Vidette “Tedi” AsherDr. Asher earned a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College and a PhD in neurobiology/Biology and Medical Sciences from Harvard Medical School.

Here is another excerpt from the Boston Globe article:

Asher’s initial one-year appointment is part of a broader strategy at the Peabody Essex, which over the next five years will completely redesign its galleries, incorporating neuroscience to devise multisensory exhibitions, unexpected gallery spaces, stories, and interactive features to heighten audience engagement.

As part of the neuroscience initiative, which is funded by a $130,000 grant from the Barr Foundation, Asher will meet periodically with an advisory group of brain scientists and work closely with museum staff as they plan exhibitions. She will also write a publication that summarizes the museum’s findings and serves as a guide for future programming.

Please click here to be taken to the full story, “Peabody Essex Museum hires neuroscientist to enhance visitor experience,” by Malcolm Gay.

Newsweek reported on the pioneering hire in a May 17 story, “Art and the Brain: Museum Near Boston Hires Neuroscientist to Transform Visitors’ Experience,” by Stav Ziv.

Actually, even prior to the P.E.M. hire of Tedi Asher, making big news was that the museum had won the $130,000 Boston-based Barr Foundation grant.

P.E.M. winning of the grant was featured in a March 17 New York Times story, “How to Get the Brain to Like Art,” by Jess Bidgood.

Of course, in that an event or development gets hyped in the press and receives popular attention does not necessarily mean that that event, that development, is a positive for society or education or culture, or that it is important to business and commerce.

But, most certainly, the neuroscience and neuroscientist at the Peabody Essex Museum is important, revolutionary, truly next generation – and will improve how exhibits and exhibitions educate and enrich and entertain the mind and senses.

Willwork will surely stay tuned.

Expect more on this blog about the Peabody Essex Museum neuroscience project – and on how science is integrated into and enlisted in the way that images and art are shown, products are displayed, stories are told, and brands are established and strengthened.