Music is primarily an experience that verbal description cannot capture. At The National Blues Museum in St. Louis visitors 'feel' the history of The Blues by creating and publishing their own Blues track.

Become a Blues Legend is a series of interactive exhibits that seamlessly intertwine with the museum narrative flow and allow visitors to create their very own blues song.


The experience flow walks visitors through the creation of each song component following the evolution of the Blues. Visitors walk through the history of the Blues, starting with compiling lyrics with the signature AAB pattern and then experimenting with different instruments and regional styles to define the characteristics of their Blues creation. Each step features a simple, gamified mode to follow the rhythm and groove of an instrument track and a ‘Freestyle’ mode for free improvisation.

The experience wraps at the Mix it Up station, where users can mix their song, add effects and design an album cover to be emailed and shared.


The design process followed the main experience goals to merge educational content with hands-on feel of the unique essence of the Blues.

Content research helped define the main interaction components as regional styles, represented by Blues legend artists and their playing style.

Mix it Up V1 – Circular looping mixer

V8 – Audio editing interface

V14 – Match the look&feel of the museum

V27 – Simplified mixing console

Designing the musical instruments interfaces went through multiple cycles of testing and iterations, leading to a realistic depiction of the instruments, overlaid with a flat design approach to the navigation and selection components.


The design process followed cycles of iterations and testing that resulted in significant change in design and interaction direction. The music production and sound design were a vital part testing as interactive components of the prototypes and software builds.

All the music for the series is original and produced as modular components to allow users a level of creative freedom either in game or freestyle mode. Music production by Adam Frick

Task Flow - Log in/Create a Stage Name
Mix it Up V1 - Concept Exploration
Guitar UI - Early Wireframe
UI Design Approach - Flat and Skeuomorphic Layers
Prototyping & Testing


When a new album is complete a Blues Legend is born. The album is published to the museum digital library of all visitors Blues creations. Visitors also receive the album as an email, with the lyrics, album cover and an MP3 file as a shareable takeaway.

Software and AV Integration: BBI Engineering

Exhibition Design:  Gallagher & Associates

Architect: V Three Studios