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The Blue Whale. A truly magnificent exhibition that comes to you.

Summary

Discover a pioneering digital exhibition matching the scale and beauty of the majestic Blue Whale exhibition. An immensely sensorial presentation that comes to you, wherever you are in the world. Part educational, part jaw-dropping, it’s as close as you can get to the real thing.

Challenge

We were tasked by the Natural History Museum to reveal its latest exhibition online, introducing a new, digital audience to the wonders of the NHM. It was an opportunity to not only increase top-of-mind awareness of the museum, but also footfall into the museum itself for existing and future exhibitions.

Natural History Museum Workshop 1

Testimonial

Testimonial from Piers Jones, CDO

“We wanted to create a highly visual experience so that visitors could dive deeper into this fascinating specimen. Working with Potato has enabled us to meet that vision.”
Natural History Museum Sketching Natural History Museum Ideation

Vision

We set out to bring the feeling of being in the Natural History Museum directly into users’ living rooms. A web experience that was both informative and visually stunning, and presented in a way that captured the magic of the exhibition itself.

In order to do this, the experience needed to work on every major browser and device, with the smooth-running of all visual and audio effects. So, our goal was to create a visually stunning, content-led 3D recreation of the exhibition that gave users the opportunity to see the whale through a range of different media, and from a range of different views.

Natural History Museum Workshop 2

Change

Driven by image and content, rather than data, we captured the sheer beauty of the project through maximum rendering control, building a website using vanilla HTML, CSS (via SASS) and ES6 JavaScript, framework-free.

The site was fully responsive, using debounced event handling for smooth parallax effects, while URL management meant every page was easily shareable and visible to search engines - all building to a static bundle for easy platform-independent deployment. (In our workflow, we ensured new features were tested against our supported browser metrics at every stage.)

Using our decade-long heritage in engineering, we were able to create the ultimate visually-led online content experience. From the breathtaking ceiling of Hintze Hall, through the Collections and way down into the depths of the ocean, online visitors could discover the true magnificence of the Blue Whale.

NHM image 5
Natural History Museum Workshop 3

Outcome

Developing the site to work on all major modern browsers and devices led to greater responsiveness, as well as a large increase in media queries. (All underpinned by cross-browser support via tools like autoprefixer, browserlist and babel.)

Bringing the project online in such a dynamic way made it possible for an entirely new audience to experience the exhibition, while boosting attendance to the museum itself.

A forward-thinking solution that has positioned the NHM as a leader in its field. By utilising the latest technologies, enhancing physical exhibitions with digital ones, London’s much-loved attraction can create the very best experiences for its patrons.

NHM image 7

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