This past Monday, December 13th, Belmonte’s Museu dos Descobrimentos, dedicated to exploring one of the greatest feats in the era of the Portuguese discoveries, was distinguished with the 2010 Innovation and Creativity Award by the Portuguese Museological Association for its museological strategy and content development.
Belmonte’s museological strategy and contents were developed by cultural management firm Arque Hoje, with YDreams responsible for devising and implementing high-end interactive solutions that enable visitors to interact with the exciting contents and information.
A creative mix of art, design and technology span the 16 rooms that were once home to Pedro Alvares Cabral, the Portuguese navigator and explorer, who led the armada that discovered Brazil at the onset of the 16th century. The museum has been open to the public since April 2009.
I recently learned that Pedro Alvares Cabral, the man who commanded the Portuguese armada that ‘happened’ upon Brazil, hailed from Belmonte – a small, charming town in north-central Portugal.
The town decided it was time they had a space exclusively dedicated to the Portuguese era of the discoveries – they called it Centro Interpretative de Belmonte. They also called on YDreams to add their special brand of creative technology to this singular museum space.
I was recently there with a film crew to get footage of the center, and not wanting to sound biased or anything, I’ve got to say that all parts involved (YDreams with all the interactive design components, conception and narrative and Pitanga Design with the scenography) did a fantastic job in recreating an unparalleled journey into the era of Portuguese discoveries, and the armada’s first encounters with the new world.
Exploring Belmonte’s Interpretive Center was a lot like a trip to a theme park with the historical contents of course – a treat for kids of all ages. The scenography combined with the design and amazing gesture-based apps made the narrative exciting and alot of fun to explore.
Some of my favorite apps include a huge screen projection that displays and plays the instruments used in popular Brazilian music genres like Samba, Bossa Nova and Chorinho. Arrows on the floor in front of the projection tell you where to step, skip or dance about to ‘magically’ turn the instruments on and off, or create your own unique combination of cool sounds.
In the room next door another interactive app recreates the vibrant pace and sounds of a traditional Brazilian market stall. Wooden paddles with special markers let you see yourself alongside the colorful fruits and vegetables native to the region in a large-sized plasma in front of you.
There is plenty to keep you informed and entertained but don’t take my word alone, pack the family and friends into a car and head over to Belmonte to see for yourself!
For a brief teaser, or if you can’t make it there anytime soon, have a look at what’s on in Belmonte in the video below.