Be My Butterfly - CODAworx

Be My Butterfly

Client: The Strong National Museum of Play

Location: Rochester, NY, United States

Completion date: 2023

Project Team

Creative Director

Julia Beabout


Executive Producer

Stephen Black

Black Steps

Lead 3D Artist

Jimmy Yen


Texture Artist

Nalisha Jin



This playful butterfly experience inspires a sense of wonder and generates joy for kids of all ages while welcoming them to The Strong National Museum of Play’s new entrance, Video Game Hall of Fame, and interactive exhibit wing. Known for their butterfly conservatory located at the far end of the museum, this larger-than-life, interactive augmented reality (AR) experience honors both the old and new ways we play together.

Created as both a permanent exhibit and fundraising opportunity for the new wing, donors’ names are embedded in the AR experience. Visitors can hunt for and tap on donor names to release colorful butterflies that ascend to the tree and the butterfly sculpture in the ceiling above. Donors have creatively used this opportunity to not only recognize their own donation, but also to honor and remember loved ones and those who have contributed to the Museum expansion and community.


Initially conceived as a mapping and identification tool for fundraising only, NOVABY recognized the opportunity to amplify these efforts and increase the Museums’ return on investment by reimagining the AR experience as a permanent, playful, interactive exhibit that could grow and evolve with the Museum while also accomplishing their fundraising goals. Towards that end: the following goals were identified and pursued: ensure ease of accessibility by locating the experience in the public lobby and requiring the use of mobile phones only; connect with the butterfly sculpture that is suspended from the ceiling above; and reflect the Museum’s brand, themes, and serious commitment to play.


Working closely with the Museum’s design and fundraising staff throughout design and production, NOVABY crafted an experience that incorporated the museum’s rainbow color palette, served their fundraising purposes, and connected with the butterfly conservatory and new butterfly art sculpture that hangs from the ceiling above. The project schedule was carefully aligned with the Museums' grand re-opening. Leveraging NOVABY’s extensive background in creating world-scale AR experiences as well as building design and construction, a series of mock-ups and prototypes were used to custom fit the experience to the new lobby during construction.

Additional Information

The experience is accessible using visitor’s own mobile phones on the Hoverlay AR Platform.