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SPAM® Museum employs Planar displays to convey the canned meat's iconic story

Loved across the world for its quirky name, shelf stability and versatility, SPAM® products are as rich in history as they are in flavor. Launched in 1937 by Hormel Foods, SPAM® products gained popularity in the 1940s when over 100 million pounds of SPAM® products were shipped abroad to feed troops during World War II. This surge in popularity also helped propel the brand's recognition across the globe—now sold in 44 countries, the canned meat is ubiquitous in pop culture, even taking the Broadway stage for the Monty Python musical SPAMALOT™. The product has such a distinguished place in American history that a sample of SPAM® product packaging resides in the Smithsonian.

Hormel Foods first established a SPAM® brand themed museum in 1991 as part of the company's centennial celebration. The museum was erected in Austin, Minnesota, home to the company's headquarters. In April of 2016, after being relocated closer to Austin's town center, a revitalized SPAM® Museum opened to the public. The reimagined, 14,000-square-foot museum provides an educational venue for visitors of all ages, offering opportunities to learn about the SPAM® brand's story, its global appreciation and how SPAM® products are made.

To promote a dynamic learning experience, numerous desktop monitors and touch screen displays from Planar are deployed throughout the museum, allowing guests to play SPAM®-inspired games, create and send recipes, listen to video narratives and discover the deep history packed behind the iconic blue can.

"The Planar displays provide a wonderful educational opportunity and encourage a fun and interactive environment," said Savile Lord, manager of the SPAM® Museum. "We can tell the story of the SPAM® brand in a very engaging way."

Planar displays enhance museum exhibits

Interactive touch screen displays and monitors are utilized in varying roles within the museum exhibits and provide a medium for storytelling and facilitating participation among guests.
Museum visitors are greeted by 'can central', a circular display supported by four large columns tiled with cans of SPAM® products. A series of Planar® Helium™ Series 27-inch touch screen monitors take center stage at the display, guiding guests through SPAM® brand-inspired recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When visitors find a favorite dish, they can e-mail the recipe using the monitor's responsive multi-touch technology.

To celebrate the SPAM® brand's global popularity—and provide a few lessons on international cultures—the Planar Helium Series interactive monitors are also used to feature country-specific content in the museum's world market international gallery. During a stop in the United Kingdom, visitors can use a Planar Helium Series monitor to toss forks, knives and spoons at a castle made of SPAM® products in a Monty Python–inspired SPAMALOT™ game. The monitor at the Philippines display invites guests to design their own version of the country's popular Jeepney bus, then e-mail the design home.

Planar Helium Series touch screen monitors are also employed in the SPAM® Brand 101 interactive exhibit, where families can compete against one another in an assembly game, timing their ability to put together a mock can of SPAM® product.

The story of the SPAM® brand cannot be told without a turn through World War II, highlighted in a wartime-themed exhibit which illustrates how SPAM® products played a critical role in helping feed American troops. Here, a 24-inch Planar® PL Series desktop monitor placed in a wooden crate is used to play wartime newsreels.

Simplified and reliable performance

Throughout the museum's various exhibits, 24-inch Planar® PL Series monitors and 32-inch Planar® Simplicity™ Series LCD displays are used to display informative video content. Rick Nelson, project manager of global system integrator Electrosonic, which provided the interactive audio visual support for the museum's exhibits, said the Planar displays provide a power cycle that is based on a video signal presence—eliminating the need to separately control the displays over the network. "This feature helped simplify the control system," Nelson said. "The displays also provide reliable ongoing performance and display brightness for all-day use."

A story of family

In designing the new museum, Lord said Planar displays were as integral in fostering an interactive space appealing to both adults and children—consistent with the SPAM® brand's traditional bond to the family. "Many people come through here with stories how SPAM® products were a staple on the Sunday night dinner table or how it helped families through tough times, so it was very important that we capture that essence," she said. "We love that display technology has come so far that we can create such a unique experience for our visitors."