Our Work

A dynamic simulation

of the U.S. Senate

This dynamic learning environment features interactive technology, informative visual content, and collaborative activities that take place in and around a full- scale replica of the Senate chamber.

ESI fulfilled Senator Kennedy’s vision for a new model for civic education and public discourse.

ESI Design created the Institute as a portal into the legislative process and a training ground for the decision-makers of the future. The result is an unparalleled immersive experience that directly engages visitors in the spirit of civic dialogue, compromise, and collaboration.

Visitors explore the role of the Senate, its personalities, historic accomplishments, and current challenges — all in preparation for a vote on a bill currently pending before Congress. Before they leave, visitors make a pledge to take civic action in their own communities.

The heart of the EMK Institute experience is a groundbreaking, dynamic group simulation of the U.S. Senate (the Senate Immersion Module, or SIM) for up to 100 visitors (most often middle-school and high-school students, college students, and leadership training groups). Visitors take on the roles of senators for a day to study issues, debate, negotiate, craft bills and amendments, and vote on legislation. In some sessions, participants tackle tough contemporary issues; in others, they debate historic issues in dramatic re-creations of significant moments in the Senate’s history.

Through these programs, participants learn about the legislative process and that debate and negotiation play key roles in the passage of effective legislation.

Visit the Edward M. Kennedy Institute website.

Read our Blog post about fulfilling the dream of EMKI through experience design.

Experience Design



Data Visualization








Staff Training






“How do you design an experience that makes learning about the U.S. Senate fun? You let visitors role-play senators.”

Fast Company

18,000 Today’s Vote participants in the first year


2016 Interaction Award – Best in Category Connecting
2015 Spark:Experience Awards – Gold Winner
In The News
Senator for a day at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute
Dallas News
In The News
Massachusetts’ Kennedy Institute offers window on U.S. Senate
In The News
EMK Institute for the US Senate Opens in Boston with AV Support from Electrosonic
Museums + Heritage Advisor
In The News
Play Senator for a Day in an Interactive Cultural Institute
In The News
At the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, students use tablets to game the political system
Beta Boston
In The News
Ted Kennedy’s Institute Lets Visitors Play Senator for a Day
In The News
In This Museum, You Don’t Learn About Senators. You Are A Senator.
Fast Company
Design Thinking
Fulfilling a Vision: Designing The Edward M. Kennedy Institute Experience
In The News
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute Combines Cutting Edge Tech with a Full-Scale Senate Chamber Replica
In The News
Edward M. Kennedy institute for US senate experience and exhibit
In The News
Edward M. Kennedy Institute Opens With A Lofty Goal: Restoring Respect For Congress
WBUR Boston Public Radio & New England Public Radio
In The News
The Precedent-Setting Possibilities of the New Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston
The Atlantic: City Lab
In The News
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate Opens on March 31
Architect Magazine
In The News
Kennedy Institute Unveils Replica of U.S. Senate Chamber
The Wall Street Journal
In The News
President Obama Will Mark the Opening of the New Edward Kennedy Senate Museum, Monday
In The News
Capitol Thinking at the Kennedy Institute
The Boston Globe

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