Ocean Liners Interactive Exhibit
We created an immersive experience combining objects and multimedia to showcase the luxurious dining experience aboard an early 1900s ocean liner.
Peabody Essex Museum logo

After debuting our edge computing platform at the 2016 MCN Conference with our interactive exhibit, The Magic Forest, we were contacted by the Peabody Essex Museum to craft an immersive storytelling experience for visitors at their Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed and Style exhibition.

Close-up of the PEM exhibit


The exhibit featured two installations on opposing walls that displayed a variety of objects obtained from the SS Normandie, a French ocean liner. The experience took museum visitors through the typical dining experience guests on ocean liners received while on their voyage.

Each installation was fitted with a projector, lights, and concealed speakers that ran through a series of interactions based on a script. As various dishes, glasses, and implements were described within the narrated story, lighting under the table surface illuminated the object as the projectors played scenes from the Normandie dining room and kitchens.

"Having seen their platform demonstrated at the Museum Computer Network conference, I had a sense that Forest Giant could deliver the product I needed. And they sure did! I can't recommend them enough."

Ed Rodley
Associate Director of Integrated Media, Peabody Essex Museum

Installing the interactive exhibit


Production centered around leveraging the FG platform for the new distributed and synchronized AV solution. Our platform, particularly Stela, was hardened during production due to the many tests that were involved in bringing the PEM experience to life - often bizarre experiments that included disco lights and robotic counting commands. After a short production cycle, our team traveled to Massachusetts to construct the installation on-site.


Ultra short-throw HD projectors were used in conjunction with Panphonics directional speakers to provide an immersive audio and video environment. Mac Minis were used to house multimedia sources. The tables that held the objects used an Arduino-controlled LED grid to light up the different sections.

Distributed Theater schematics

Distributed Theater is a custom OS X application that leverages Stela, a microservice of the FG platform, to synchronize a timeline across multiple computers. The boxes inside each instance of Distributed Theater in the graphic above are the microservices. Some services are dedicated to talking with hardware, like Arduino Light and DMX Light. Timeline is a service that leverages Stela to synchronize the script across all of the computers. The OS X application launches all the microservices and also displays video/audio content. There is also a debug mode in the application that allows maintainers to view log information.


The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts is a world-class facility housing more than 1.3 million pieces, including more than 840,000 works featuring maritime art and history. Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed and Style was organized by the Peabody Essex Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. For more information about the Peabody Essex Museum, visit www.pem.org.