The Digital Museum

A shareable exhibition

ps1_372743_fnt_dd_t13We quite often find some of the museums we work with can get a little nervous about putting their exhibits online – we’ve even had the comment “if we put everything on the website, why would people visit us if they’ve already seen everything”?

Here’s a great example of a museum doing just that – the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has put its entire American Artists Abroad exhibition of paintings online for the duration of the event.

It is even inviting users to download the images, or to create their own online exhibition with them – which can be shared on social media.

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WW1 meets WWW to create a very social archive

In a recent post, we highlighted that the best digital museum archives are those that allow and invite public comment and contribution.

The Imperial War Museum has done just that with an ambitious and exciting project that records information on the millions of Britons who served in World War 1.

Lives of the First World War draws on official archives and family records to record and remember 4.5m people who served overseas in the 1914-1918 conflict.

Details of many of those recorded are minimal, and the IWM is asking members of the public to help develop the archive by contributing their own stories, memories and images of family members recorded in the database.

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Digital collection brings natural history to life


Spectacular images and rare books documenting America’s rich natural history have been made available to the public for the first time in a very neat new digital archive from the American Museum and Natural History.

We like the user friendly way this is laid out and the way they provide different levels of information for the curious public and more dedicated researchers.

It would have been nice to see more integration with social media – making it more shareable, allowing people to embed galleries and inviting comments would make it a much more interactive platform.

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Thornbury and District Museum Case Study

thornburyCase Studies from the SWMDP Digital Engagement Programme 2014

Thornbury and District Museum joined the project because the volunteer workforce felt their current website was not conducive to doing simple things easily, using up time at the expense of creating engaging content.  The project came just at the right time for them, as they had started discussing how they might go about developing a brief for a new, more efficient website prior to seeking grant aid. They felt the project would help them clarify and develop their thinking about how they could move forward digitally.

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Community Heritage Access Centre Case Study

luftonCase Studies from the SWMDP Digital Engagement Programme 2014

Digital engagement is vital to CHAC as its website and social media presence are the organisation’s main windows of display to its public since the museum in the town centre closed some years back.  The Centre is a treasure trove of local collections – ideal content for engaging diverse audiences

The Centre joined the project to take stock of their current activity and see what improvements could be made.  It has a small paid workforce and a team of volunteers.

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Bridport Museum Case Study


Case Studies from the SWMDP Digital Engagement Programme 2014

This museum had just submitted a Stage 1 bid to HLF to completely re-develop the museum. Part of this project will be to create a new website. They also plan to review and improve their digital engagement by, for example, using social media for consultation work on the proposals and getting more detail about their collections online.

The curator felt that participation in the Digital Engagement project would help the museum expand and diversify its audiences by finding alternative ways of connecting with people who don’t necessarily visit the museum.

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Luton’s world-wide smile is a digital museum engagement coup

“Smile and the world will smile with you” so the saying goes and a principle that Luton Culture put behind their Museum Makers project: Pharrell Williams – Happy (we are from Luton) video.

“Luton often gets a lot of negative press and something that our Museum Makers often write on our ideas box wall is that they want to see more positivity in the town,” says Jemma Murphy, one of a very small number of people who conceived, delivered and facilitate Museum Makers for Luton Culture.

Jemma further explained: “Happy provided a perfect opportunity for this, it’s such a feel good track that gets everyone dancing and smiling”.

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