Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

The Xantho Exhibition Revisited at the Western Australian Maritime Museum

Author/s J. Gilman

Year of publication 2001

Report Number: 158

This dissertation is the product of a research effort under the auspices of the Department of Maritime Archaeology. Western Australian Maritime Museum, and the Research Institute for Cultural Heritage. Curtin University of Technology.

The project involved three phases:

  1. Redesigning the Xantho exhibition to improve the visitor experience based on observations and conversation with visitors, gallery staff etc.
  2. Studying visitor interactions in the Xantho exhibition while creating a 1/6┬Ěsize mockup of Xantho Building the mock-up was in effect, a vehicle for spending several hours in the gallery observing and interacting with visitors.
  3. Extensive research into the steamship Xantho, using limited original documentation and on sources on shipbuilding practices of the day.

The project suggested an approach to exhibition design, 'rapid prototyping', which can be useful in circumstances where an exhibition brief would be difficult to create and implement due limited or non-existent funding and to the vagaries of design and conservation resources, new artefacts and discoveries becoming available, and unanticipated opportunities for new displays to be added.