A woman stands in front of a kiosk, reaching out to tap the touchscreen to learn more


The National Museum of the American Indian opened a blockbuster exhibition in the summer of 2015 titled Inka Road: Engineering an Empire. The exhibition focuses on the unprecedented architectural, cultural and technological achievements of the Inka Empire. Interactive Knowledge was chosen to create a kiosk that was installed in the exhibition to highlight the key elements of the exhibition through an interactive experience.

The goals

The goals of this project were to design and build a bi-lingual interactive experience that visitors could use to learn more about the achievements of the Inka Empire through activities, videos and text. The experience was to be for visitors to the physical expedition through a large touchscreen kiosk, as well as an accompanying website that visitors could experience remotely.


The IK Approach

Both the kiosk and educational website are totally bilingual. Users can switch between Spanish and English text and/or audio on any screen. The educational website uses responsive design so all of the content is fully accessible on smartphones and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers.

We worked closely with Dan Davis, the project’s manager and our direct client at NMAI along with a team of NMAI curators, translators and media specialists. We collaborated with this team to create the overall content strategy that featured a visually compelling opening screen that presented ten questions designed to introduce and explain the content identified in the overall goals of the project. We also subcontracted with a DC-based 3D animation firm, Pixeldust Studios, to create a series of engaging interactives and animations that illustrate critical concepts about Inka engineering techniques.


Screenshot of the Inka website on three mobile devices side by side


The results

3D animations and interactives introduce the concepts of water management (hydrology), bridge building and the Inka’s extensive system of food, weapon and tool storage throughout the Empire.

Advance organizer technique displays ten relevant questions that are answered with images, videos, text and activities designed to engage visitors to the exhibition and website users. The questions are organized by a series of four topics that are cross-referenced for deeper engagement.

Engaging interactive allow users to investigate the materials used by the Inka to create agricultural terraces like the ones that still exist near Machu Picchu.


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    Screenshot of an interactive involving water management