Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
December 29, 2015
J Mendel at the Plaza Hotel
December 29, 2015

This interactive exhibit was created in collaboration with the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Students at the ETC combined old technology with new to create a great experience for young and old alike.

Philadelphia actor Ralph Archbald has made a career of playing Benjamin Franklin. In this exhibit, he appears as a ghost answering questions poised by the visitors. Questions are asked via touch screens built into the book mounted on the front of the exhibit structure. Many questions are pre-programmed with answers, guests can also ask their own questions and the technology finds the closest answer, or the best political dodge available.

Franklin/Archbald appears as a 21st Century Pepper’s Ghost; 19th century stage technology we have all experienced in one way of another. If you have ever seen the film of A Christmas Carol, the ghosts that visit Scrooge are Pepper’s Ghosts. If you have ever been on any of the Haunted Mansion experiences at any of the Disney Parks; the ghosts that appear are Pepper’s Ghosts.

In short, a Pepper’s Ghost is a reflection off of an angled surface. Hopefully the most optically pure angled surface possible. In this case the reflection is from a video projector.

Highly engaging, and installed in the Historic Center of Philadelphia