Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Touring the FamilySearch Family Discovery Center

Today I had the pleasure of attending a VIP tour of the FamilySearch Family Discovery Center, that's set for a February 11, 2015 grand opening. 
The Family Discovery Center is in the FamilySearch corner of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. It is ready to welcome visitors, but it is also acting as a model for possible off-site future centers around the world.
The target audience is youth ages 12-18, with the hope that they will then attract their families as well.

The Family Discovery Center is organized into kiosks with different interactive family history activities. Visitors are given individual iPads to use during the tour. Those with FamilySearch accounts are asked to log in using their names and passwords. The result is a custom experience based on your family tree.
Here is where I learned about the meaning of my name. My maiden name is unique, so there wasn't any information (yet).

Many of the stations have futuristic looks to them, because that's what kids these days want and expect. Several stations had interactive touch screens, including this station that felt like time travel and taught about different eras in our ancestors' lives.

Below this world map display, you can see where I've docked my iPad. I don't have a large family tree at FamilySearch (yet) so I didn't get to fully participate in this station. Once the iPad is docked, information from your tree and ancestors' locations will come up on the map. You can use the touchscreen to zoom in or out and see the migration paths and birthplaces of ancestors.

There's even a station to record your own history. There are question prompts on the screen and a camera that records you telling your stories. At the end of the tour, visitors receive a recording from this station as well as photos and information from the others.

Station 5 has a Wii-style experience where you wave your hand to choose and take photos in various styles of dress. Here I am being a Chickasaw Princess:

Special thanks to FamilySearch for thinking I was a VI enough P for their VIP tour. See FamilySearch.org/discoverycenter for more information on this innovative endeavor to get families interested in their own histories.

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