The Hidden Museum

IT Innovation ChallengesStaff project based in Museum of Natural History and Museum of the History of Science

Michaelmas 2014 round

See also ‘Revealing the Hidden Museum’ (blog post)

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Oxford University is home to internationally-important collections, a great deal of which is already on public display. Permanent interpretation provides an overview of the significance of this material, but there are often many other layers of knowledge and understanding which may remain hidden, or obscure, to the general visitor – knowledge held with curatorial staff or researchers; stories that reside behind closed doors and inaccessible corridors.

The Hidden Museum project seeks to explore methods for delivering additional collections-related digital content to visitors when it is most relevant to them – while they are engaging with the objects and buildings or spaces which house them.

The project will research and prototype ways that context-specific content can be made available on visitors’ mobile devices in a seamless, elegant and appropriate manner. In this way, narratives and interpretations that are either absent or somewhat hidden in a museum’s displays might be revealed. The use of digital content allows for different types of interpretation to be attached to objects or locations, enriching a visitor’s experience and understanding of a museum’s collections and building.

Research, development, testing, evaluation and prototyping at the Museum of Natural History and Museum of the History of Science will create a body of knowledge that can be used to further develop digital mobile content across the museums and collections.

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