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narrative // initial union station research

narrative // initial union station research
October 9, 2013 nick howland

As we begin the next project in Narrative, an interactive (!!) timeline for Union Station’s centennial, we have partnered up (me and Monica), selected our decade (2000’s) and began to bust out our mad research skills.  We spent quite a bit of time researching major events that have happened throughout the 2,000’s as well as looking back at Union Station’s tumultuous history and checking out some pretty stellar interactive experiences. Below and to the right you can find some of our findings.


Events in the 2000’s we can discuss: 

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Bloch Building

Kaufman Center

KC Fashion Week (held in Union Station)

Crossroads Music Festival

Google Fiber

Obama visits KC (Folly Theatre)

Sprint Center

Power and Lights District

KC Ballet’s new location

Renaming of Sporting KC

Roller Derby


KC Star priority + distribution center begins construction (2004) and finishes construction (2006)

MAX bus system redesigned by Willoughby

Irish Museum (located in Union Station


Past Union Station history to take note of: 

1911 // construction starts (building is built in Beanux-arts architectural style)

1914 // opens to public

1933 // union station massacre occurs

1983 // union station closes

1999 // union station opens back up

2002 // amtrak comes back

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Second Story Interactive’s Ford Alumni center presents an interactive exhibit that shows the schools rich history. To do this, Second Story created cascading touch screen towers that allow the visitor to actually interact with the school’s story. The approach Second Story took  is really interesting because instead of creating an ordinary interactive timeline, they explored the narrative of the school and told a story. This would be an interesting concept to keep in mind while further exploring the Union Station timeline.

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Another approach to an interactive narrative (with a timeline), and also from Second Story (!!), this touch screen display tells the history of Mt. St. Helens. The interface is one reason I pulled this video but the depiction of the interactive map is pretty exciting as well. With how much the KC terrain has changed in the last decade or so, it would be really interesting to show different maps of KC with interactive points or, at the very least, show and compare (possibly via overlay) the skyline through the decade and how it changed.