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New-York Historical Society Museum and Library

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New-York Historical Society Museum and Library
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As soon as they enter the New-York Historical Society Museum and Library, visitors are likely to feel they're in the presence of, and perhaps even part of history. This owes to a video wall from Planar Systems that showcases traditional artwork in a unique, interactive manner, creating a memorable experience for visitors to the iconic facility.

Adjacent to the museum's admission area, the Planar video wall depicts a stationary image of a painting called 'Pulling Down the Statue of King George III,' by the artist Johannes Adam Simon Oertel. When even a small group of visitors stands in front of the video wall, sounds can be heard and the image then begins to move. As more people gather, the crowd depicted in the painting comes to life and pulls on a rope, bringing the King George statue to the ground in a cloud of dust and amid sounds of cheering and dogs barking.

All of this occurs as a result of the Clarity™ Matrix MX55 LCD Video Wall System, which is integrated with ceiling-mounted motion-detection cameras, and software provided by the Cambridge, Mass.–based Small Design Firm. It also reflects the installation expertise of the international system integration company, Electrosonic, which for many years has specified and installed Planar video wall technology for a wide variety of applications.

"In a history museum, one doesn't usually think of using video screens in this manner," says Valerie Paley, the museum's Historian for Special Projects. "But because of what the Planar displays are capable of – including their interactive capabilities and exceptional image quality - our entry space is enlivened, the depiction of a historic event is made fun and dynamic, and people are enchanted by the experience."

High Marks for Picture Quality and Performance

Installed by Electrosonic in the fall of 2011 – as part of a 21st-century update to New York City's oldest museum – the Clarity Matrix video wall is comprised of ten tiled 55" LCD displays, in portrait orientation, in a five-wide-by-two-high configuration (5x2)—image-to-image gap is just 5.7mm. Andrew Kidd, who handled client liaison for Electrosonic, says the video wall makes a large impact in a very large space.

"The full HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution and color handling are as good as it gets in a big video wall like this," says Kidd. "And it really does what Small Design Firm and the museum wanted, which is to bring this beautiful painting to life in a dramatic fashion."

An equally important feature, says Kidd, is the off-board electronics design of the Clarity Matrix series. "This feature allows heatgenerating elements such as power supplies and controllers to be located away from the wall, thereby enabling it to be housed in an architectural casing. As a result, the video wall blends well with the design of the space, and it doesn't require ventilation components that could detract from the viewer's experience." Further, each LCD display features a 50,000 hour backlight life, and incorporates an intelligent power supply that automatically shuts each display off when not in use, thereby reducing power consumption. Thus, Clarity Matrix can be counted on to perform reliably during the museum's six-day, 12-hour-per-day operation."

Mounting System Speeds Installation

Clarity Matrix ships with Planar's EasyAxis™ Mounting System that was specifically engineered for the product. This ensures that even a large video wall can be installed quickly and multiple displays can easily be aligned – "much more so than competitive products," Kidd says. "Also, with ultra-thin bezels, the video wall delivers images that are virtually seamless."

He adds that the quick alignment enabled by EasyAxis lead to considerable labor savings, which makes Clarity Matrix very attractive from the system integrator's perspective. "It gives us a very cost-effective solution to offer the customer – which was important to the museum. It also adds to the product options we can offer, including more choices with which to address the needs of architects and designers, and the unique needs of museums and many other public spaces."

An Ideal Solution

Asked if other museums – and similar venues – should consider the Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System, the museum's Paley responds: "Absolutely; it's an ideal solution. You could put a mural or another static image up but it would not have the same impact as a digital video wall; there is nothing else like it. The video wall has certainly succeeded in meeting our objective, which is to engage our visitors and cause them to think about the history that we're presenting here."

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