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  • The making of the Bank of Russia virtual museum

    Overview   Process  

    Learning that the Bank of Russia has museum expositions on the history of money circulation. It turns out, one of them is open to the public, while the other one is available only to officials and state delegations.

    Looking at websites of other bank museums.

    Making a list of exhibits.

    Visiting the museum.

    Taking photographs of the exhibits and learning lots of interesting facts about banking in Russia from the curator.

    While working with the exhibits, we find a previously unnoticed mark on a collector medal commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Moscow Stock Exchange. The mark can be seen only on high resolution images. As it turns out, it means that the medal was part of a private collection long before the Bank of Russia’s museum acquired it. The museum learns something new about one of is exhibits and we move forward.

    Making the first attempt at the concept and the structure of the website.

    We suggest to film a video tour of the museum given by the curator so the website visitors can walk its halls as in a computer game. Later we drop the idea as too much attention would be given to walls and furniture and too little to the exhibits themselves.

    Trying to make a museum display table with exhibits that can be scrolled in any direction.

    Designer: And on the main page we’ll have a bank clerk typing on a typewriter with the carriage return bell sounding every once in a while.

    Besides, the book dedicated to Lamansky, the first manager of the bank, features a lot of episodes with him sitting at a desk working. Maybe, we can get him to demonstrate the exposition?

    Art director: It’s a museum, not a private collection.

    Suggesting to record a video with a curator and display it while scrolling along a museum table that is divided into several historic periods. We can also insert a historic reference that would add coherence.

    Art director: Tutorials are for pussies. The website should be self-explanatory.

    Developing the concept. Adding facts.

    Working on the page about the museum itself.

    Art director: It’s time you stop suggesting these dynamic forms and pointless panoramas!

    Fantasizing further.

    Showing the museum display table concept to the client.

    The client likes the idea, starting to work on the realization.

    Working on mechanics. Getting inspired by mathematics, roller coasters and video games.

    Designing a giant table.

    Moving beyond a single plane.

    Coming up with timeline, context callouts and other small features.

    Working on icons.

    Moving on to the exhibit page.

    Realizing that exhibits have to be as large as possible.

    Getting inspired by occasional Photoshop glitches.

    Starting to process each individual exhibit. Realizing that we don’t have enough information to ensure interesting and vivid presentation. Searching books and the internet for more knowledge. Getting a list of recommended literature from the bank.

    Studying yearbooks of the Russian Empire.

    Deciding to record audio fragments, interviewing the museum curator.

    Editing the audio.

    Photographing the book about Lamansky for the museum table texture.

    Working on shadows and mouse hover effect.

    The illustrator is busy creating volumetric inserts related to specific exhibits.

    To undermine Russia’s economy, Napoleon produced fake paper money. We can use this fact to draw a picture of Napoleon giving away fake money like it’s advertising flyers.

    Studying source materials.

    Making sketches and preparing illustrations.

    The number of posters promoting government loans makes it clear Russia was entirely unprepared for World War I. There was no funds and the government decided to borrow money from the people offering loans at 5,5% rate. The posters called to support the army and emphasized lack of ammunition.

    Since the government had no money to wage the war, we can draw soldiers sitting around a howitzer drinking tea with empty ammo crates nearby.

    Studying a poster.

    Illustrating the scene.

    The 25-ruble banknote features a standing Russia figure that proudly looks into the distance as if surveying her vast kingdom. Her head is crowned by the Cap of Monomakh, in her right hand is a scepter and in her left hand are attributes of imperial power. Additionally, her right hand rests on an impressive sovereign shield with the Russian coat of arms.

    Depicting the scene from the medal commemorating the abolition of serfdom.

    Making several more illustrations.

    Making corrections.

    For the favicon, we decide to age the coin from the main Bank of Russia website.

    Adding a nice feature with turning the lights off in the museum block.

    Making some more fixes and unveiling the website.

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