Because news media can be a powerful force in creating and perpetuating representations based on cultural and racial stereotypes, what we see in the media shapes — and oftentimes distorts— our perception of others, Black men, for example, are disproportionately portrayed as criminals and linked to poverty, while positive depictions are generally limited to sports and music. The knee-jerk reaction to view Black men as potentially dangerous and presume they are athletes or entertainers instead of inventors or doctors goes unquestioned because they fall in line with prevailing cultural stereotypes.
In order to transform perceptions and rewrite the dominant narrative of Black people, we created Black Excellence Museum.
What it does
Black Excellence Museum honors the often overlooked cultural contributions of Black people to American history and way of life. Mixing both the familiar and the unfamiliar, our space highlights diverse stories and faces that go beyond prescribed roles and stereotypes, boosts positive representation of Black people in a cultural institution setting, and can offer an engaging way to explore counter-narratives in the form of self-affirmations.
How we built it
We primarily used Unity and echoAR.
Challenges we ran into
We had an ambitious project in mind, but we also had to learn everything from the ground up as none of us had used echoAR before and only a few of us had some basic knowledge of developing in Unity. Due to time constraints, we had to create a smaller version of our museum for the MVP.
We also ran into issues with video editing using a new platform where voice recordings and video recordings were being cut off or paused.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We shot for the moon and fell among the stars! We're proud that we were able to make this project working our way up with limited knowledge of the technologies we were using.
We are also applying for the new hacker prize, with the majority of the team being first-time hackathoners(!).
What we learned
On the Unity side, we learned how to create rooms, simulate player movement, and other concepts like collision detection so that we can't go through walls like a ghost, as well as integrate objects from echoAR. On the design side, this was a great exercise in thinking like a museum curator — thinking about the spaces we were in, the stories we wanted to tell, and how to narrate that story while going through the museum itself.
What's next for Black Excellence Museum
Building out the full vision we had, including artists and authors and technologists who made 3d glasses and 3d graphic arts like what you see in Jurassic Park come alive!