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Virtual Exhibit Enhances Zurich in North America’s Centennial Celebration

January 31, 2013 • Sara Eagin

How Zurich’s traveling exhibits evolved into a dynamic and interactive virtual experience

The History Factory was pleased to create and implement traveling exhibits as part of Zurich in North America’s centennial celebration. Displayed at financial services industry events throughout 2012, these exhibits shared Zurich’s 100-year history of insuring and helping to build the America we know today.

Based on these exhibits’ popularity, Zurich decided to interpret them into the digital space so they could have an “afterlife” in the virtual world. This expanded engagement potential with attendees of Zurich’s events and extended the reach of the centennial initiative to broader financial industry markets.

Our best practices (outlined in Virtual Exhibits 101) offer a framework for development of this digital experience. Here’s a look at some specific ways in which we transformed the physical exhibit into a unique, informative and engaging online experience.

Interpreting the physical exhibit in a virtual space

This exhibit reflects the design and content of the physical exhibit but takes advantage of the Internet’s flexibility in providing supplemental information and additional features.

From a creative perspective, the design challenge was to engage the audience in the content in new ways online (focusing on interactivity, relevance, intuitive navigation and interesting visuals, among other things) because they lost dimensionality and the sense of “touch and feel” from the physical exhibit displays.

Each of the original six towers in the physical exhibit became a “pod” in the online exhibit.  This organizational scheme gives visitors digital exploration options that are similar to those in the physical exhibit. Viewers can “wander” through the digital space and view the pods in any order.

Zurich in North America's 100th anniversary traveling exhibit panels
Zurich in North America’s 100th anniversary traveling exhibit panels
The virtual iteration of Zurich's exhibit
The virtual iteration of the traveling exhibit









Expanding on content

A “Did You Know?” set of facts accommodates additional information not available in the physical exhibit.  Viewers can “like” the site on Facebook or tweet about it. They can also test their knowledge with an interactive history quiz on the exhibit’s content.

An industry-focused content overlay increases the impact of the virtual exhibit. The traveling exhibit explored Zurich’s role in the American Experience; the financial services industry overlay developed for the virtual exhibit provides content for one of Zurich’s key industry segments.

Zurich - Virtual Exhibit Intro
Virtual exhibit intro panel with the financial services overlay
Zurich - Manhattan Subway
A virtual panel explaining Zurich’s and the financial industry’s role in bringing the subway to Manhattan












Optimizing for future updates

Any part of the virtual exhibit can be updated  to include new and fresher content, or provide an overlay for a different industry segment. Making these updates using a content management system ensures they are cost-effective and efficient.

These elements provide Zurich with a flexible, high-value historical exhibit that sustains the message indefinitely after the physical displays are taken down. For a relatively small additional investment, Zurich was able to maximize the reach, target the virtual experience to specific segments and measure traffic through it in a way which was far more tangible than the physical exhibit.

Want to learn more about virtual exhibits? Read more here or contact us.


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