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Phonebooth Storykiosk: Camden High School / Camden County Historical Society

When Camden’s school district and DIGroupArchitecture were planning for Camden’s new high school, they wanted to incorporate signature elements from the old high schools. And what could be more iconic than an original phone booth from one of the old schools? When we were referred by our friends at Night Kitchen Interactive to the Camden County Historical Society, a partner in the project, we took on a unique mission: to restore one of the old phonebooths and retrofit it with our Storykiosk installation, using its cloud-based architecture to facilitate community storytelling.

unloading the storykiosk phonebooth
Unloading the phonebooth with simulated interior

There are many unique and state-of-the-art aspects to this project, and we’ll be reporting more on it in the future. One aspect that we’ve been working on for a while is developing the technical infrastructure to facilitate multi-institutional collaboration. In this case, the Camden County Historical Society will take the lead developing questions for the phonebooth and reviewing submitted stories, creating playlists for the booth via our Content Management System (CMS). Current questions include:

  • What do you remember about the old Camden High School building?
  • Do you have any teachers or mentors who served as role models while you were in high school?
  • What is a favorite memory you have at a sporting event or other extracurricular activity?
  • What advice or words of wisdom would you offer for future generations attending the new Camden High School?

Another unique aspect was the refurbishment of the phonebooth itself. You might say we were a bit dismayed on first seeing the original condition of the phone booth, with bare plywood sides and generally deteriorated exterior. We had a dual mission: to restore the booth for public display, and yet maintain it’s original character, including the original public facing doors. Through diligent work and creative design, Bob Thibeault and Dave Tuttle on our team came up with a clever plan: rehinge the doors to open as a public facing kiosk, and mount smartly designed graphics on the windows making it appear that an original 1950’s phone sat inside the booth. The result is quite compelling, and provides engaging function both when the booth is open and when closed. (See photos above and below).

Many thanks to Marina Stern at DIGroupArchitecture for guidance along the way, Jack O’Byrne and Joshua Lisowski at Camden County Historical Society for the very compelling questions and stories, Max Antinori for a revamped front-end providing streamlined flow, Matt Carey at Bock Construction for overseeing and facilitating installation, and many other valued contributors on this unique project integrating architecture, public schools, local history, and cloud based story gathering.

open phone booth with computer
Open doors reveal the Storykiosk story capture interactive

Brad has contributed to the field with presentations at AAM, ASTC, and ACM Interactivity, where he has led sessions on empathy in exhibits. He has served as a website judge for Museums and the Web and the New England Museum Association, and as a Reviewer for IMLS Leadership Grant proposals.