Interactive Constitution

The Interactive Constitution installation is part of the new Civil War and Reconstruction gallery at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The full installation consists of three interactive kiosks: one for each of the Reconstruction amendments (the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution).

Each piece is made up of a screen and a slanted Corian touch surface. The text of each amendment is physically printed onto the Corian surface, giving visitors a tactile experience. As a visitor touches each phrase of the amendment, that clause lights up, illuminated by a projector above, and an overview of the primary concept underlying that portion appears, along with related media.

As visitors continue their exploration, they can learn about related events, grounding the amendments in their historical context. Finally, visitors can dive deeper and look at selected drafts the led up to the final, ratified version. This part of the experience encourages analysis at a phrase-by-phrase level, letting visitors better understand the language being debated and what compromises legislators made. Visitors can even compare drafts against other drafts or the final text.

Role: Technical Lead
Selected technologies: C++, Cinder, OpenGL, OSC

14th Amendment
The 14th Amendment introduced, among other things, the phrase “equal protection” to the U.S. Constitution.
Selecting specific phrases from each amendment
Touching an individual phrase, such as the Privileges or Immunities Clause, gives visitors an overview of the major concept underlying the phrase.
Additional information about each phrase
When a visitor touches the text, additional information about that phrase—in this case, Ex-Confederate Rights—appears, and pieces of related media also become available for exploration.
Comparing drafts
Visitors can explore drafts on a phrase-by-phrase basis, and can even compare drafts to other drafts to see how proposed language changed before ratification.