AMNH Sponsored Project, UX Design, AR Design
Museum AR- Afrotopia

Recontextualizing the museum and creating new dialogues through AR meta-layers and workshops





Interaction Design
Experience Design
Graphic Design

Feb-April 2022

Rose Kim, Jiaying Wang

Figma, Adobe Aero

My responsibility

Conducted user research, defined POV and designed mobile AR, brochures, and exhibition experience.


Contributed to the museum experience in the Hall of African People in AMNH. The project is featured and will be presented at the 4S conference in Cholula, Mexico.

Design process


About AMNH
Partnering with the American Natural History Museum in New York City, the project aims to prototype ways to contextualize and understand the "Man in Africa" Hall, which has participated in a range of conflicts and debates about the people and places that created the hall. Globally, museums are increasingly tasked with re-contextualizing themselves and their historic entanglements with racism, colonialism, homophobia and other forms of oppression. As museums try to craft new narratives they must wrestle with the question: What happens when the museum itself becomes an artifact? How can problematic histories be made visible, and how might justice be served? What new narratives can be crafted, and to what ends? What could they be? What forms do they take?

How to bring in hidden narratives and discussions on ancient artifacts in modern museums?
Revitalizing the past image of African People : redesign historical moments in African culture with AR.
Revealing hidden narratives : encourage learning, understanding, and communications between communities.
    Design Preview

    I. Afrotopia Reimagine The Future Through AR Collaging + Tagging
    Over the four month, our group designed an AR mobile experience that invites audiences to create collages on top of the old dioramas. The intention is to re-contextualize existing material by adding visual layers.

    1. Find and scan stickers to start AR Experience
    Users can find stickers in front of the four
    dioramas in the Hall of African Peoples.
    Long press on the sticker show on screen leads
    to the history page about the diorama.

    2. AR Collaging - Imagine the future
    Creating AR meta collages on the top of dioramas
    with objects from Afrofuturism novels and songs.

    3. Responds and reflects on old dioramas
    Four prompts are given to inspire thinking,
    reflections and communications.
    Audiences can write, draw and type responses
    towards prompts.

    4. Live update: Conversations between audiences
    All audiences can look at all collages and written
    responses. They can like their favorite pieces by
    giving a thumbs up emoji and also leave comments.

    II. Workshop  Read & Think Like An Afrofuturist
    Besides the AR experience, the workshop is designed for teens, high school and college students to understand Afrofuturism. The workshop consists of three sections: reading, writing and sharing.

    Participants will examine the works of prominent Afrofuturism artists and writers, including Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson and Tochi Onyebuchi.

    Under the context of Afrofuturism, participants will create their unique journey in forms of creative writings, including poetry, fiction, letters and more.

    Participants will receive feedback from writing teacher and published author of science fiction and short stories.

    Design Process

    Museum AR Experience User Journey
    01 Workshop
    02 Front desk
    03 Hall AR Experience

    Sign up workshop in advance
    Understand and learn about Afrotopia in workshops led by invited artists,
    writers and professors

    Scan the QR code from the signage
    Open and use the application in browser

    Follow instructions in the application to start the AR experience and learn more about the hall besides displayed artifacts and dioramas

    Exhibition AR Experience User Journey
    01 Hall Entrance
    02 Diorama 1
    03 Diorama 2
    04 Dioramas 3
    05 Dioramas 4
    06 Hall Exit
    Open application in the default browser
    Open AR Afrotopia section to find stickers on dioramas
    Long press the sticker on the diorama
    Long press the sticker on the diorama
    Long press the sticker on the diorama
    Long press the sticker on the diorama
    Save and share the live updates online
    User Research

    Research and Findings
    Our group collected audience's comments and interview results from online review platforms, questionnaires, articles and AMNH museum.
    Due to the difficulties to have an on-site research, we uses mainly online resources, such as online rating platforms and google map and resources and information provided by AMNH.

    of the respondents view AMNH as highly credible sources of information

    of the respondents expects regular updates on artifacts and displayed information

    The collected reviews from questionaries show visitors of the museums are highly convinced by the materials presented by the museum.

    The collected comments from the hall shows complaints about outdated information and inappropriate display of the artifacts in the museum.

    of respondents prefers an interactive museum experience

    of respondents wish to include voices in the museum

    The collected comments from the museum shows audiences shows strong interests in having AR and VR experiences in halls.

    The collected comments from the museum shows audiences want to include their voices in halls in additional to displayed information and artifacts.

    Our group further analyzed AMNH's current exhibition layout and artifacts in the Hall of African Peoples to better identify what is lacked and how we can improve the museum experience. Our goal is to revitalize the past image of Africa with AR, reveal hidden narratives to encourage learning, understanding, and communications between communities.


    Our design approach is to use Afrofuturism as an added lens in the Hall of African peoples to imagine an Afrocentric future, revitalize the past image of African People.

    Design POV

    I. Design Principles
    Our group developed five design principles to better define the designed experience.





    Our design should be inclusive, innovative and accessible.

    Embrace absent voices, including the narratives from African Americans and visitors.

    Pose questions to visitors to promote actions, thinking and reflections.

    Avoid coloniality in technology.

    II. Design Questions
    Our group also uses five design questions to help us better understand the refine the problems while pushing forward our design.
    01 Values
    02 Practices
    03 Narratives
    04 Sites
    05 Pedagogies
    What values do we encode and reproduce in the objects and systems that we design?
    Who gets to do design?
    How do we move toward community control of design processes and practices?
    What stories do we tell about how things are designed?
    How do we scope design challenges and frame design problems?
    Where do we do design?
    How do we make design sites accessible to those who will be most impacted by design processes?
    What design sites are privileged and what sites are ignored or marginalized?
    How do we teach and learn about design justice?

    Sketches and Mapping
    Based on the primary research, our team created a series of sketches for different design concepts/directions.
    We tried to add another information layer to reframe & reinterpret African cultural heritages, and to connecting the past, the present, and the future to reverse the stereotype that Africa is behind and stuck in the past.
    Design &Prototype

    Afrotopia AR Experience Interface

    Interactive AR Experience (Under Construction)

    The project is fun to provide a possible solution to a current problem in the museum. While in the final review, our group further realize the difficulties to implement the actual design in the museum due to conflicts between different parties in the museum. Meanwhile, it is important to consider financial issues and accessibility while designing a full project.