Digital Engagement Officer Update
This January has been a fairly busy one, meeting sector colleagues at various workshops, meetings and conferences across the UK and working with Arts Council partners to support museums develop their digital skills.
Digital Isn’t Different workshop 19-20 January
Our January event in partnership with Collections Trust was a great start to the year, with around 40 Accredited museum staff travelling to M Shed in Bristol to take part in two days’ worth of workshops. Subjects covered included digitisation and its place in SPECTRUM procedures, the practicalities of digitisation courtesy of Thomas Pace and David Emeney from Bristol Museum and an introduction to digital asset management. There were also case studies on the uses of digital assets from Corinium Museum, Bristol Museum, the Know Your Place project and National Trust South West.
Through the South West Museum Development (SWMD) programme we were able to offer travel and accommodation bursaries for seven museums across the region, allowing most of these to completely cover the costs of attending the Digital Isn’t Different event. Hopefully we can continue to offer grants like this to eligible museums for select training, to ensure Accredited museums and those working towards Accreditation have greater opportunities for digital skills development. Grants will always be announced via the SWMD website and blog, so sign up to receive updates if you haven’t already.
Key resources highlighted at the event include the following:
- Digitisation: a simple guide for museums (PDF, Collections Trust): http://www.collectionstrust.org.uk/images/documents/Digitisation/Edited_-_Digitisation_-_A_Simple_Guide_24.11.15.pdf
- JISC Digital Media infokits (link, JISC webage): http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/infokits/
Know Your Place – West of England
One of the case studies at our digitisation workshop was from Felicia Davies, Project Officer for the Know Your Place project, a digital heritage mapping tool that allows users to explore their neighbourhood through historic maps, images and narrative information. If you haven’t had a play with it yet I’d recommend it – the site can be found at http://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/.
In 2016 the Know Your Place team will be increasing the coverage of the mapping tool beyond Bristol to include Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and it’s an opportunity for museums in these areas to add a selection of their own heritage collections – including photos, film, oral history, artefacts and archival documents.
Felicia would love to hear from museums interested in adding their own digital content to the platform and can offer both organisational support to plan a project, help in finding volunteers to work on a Know Your Place project, and training workshops for staff looking to use the tool. Feel free to email her via firstname.lastname@example.org or email me if you’d like some advice on how you can get involved.
MA Tech Festival
January was also the month of the Museum Association’s Festival of Digital at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. There were some great speakers, and I found the following projects particularly interesting:
“3D scanning for regular humans”
Tom Flynn from Museum in a Box (see below) demonstrated how easy it was to start capturing 3D images with the use of a smart phone and free/cheap pieces of software. You can view the slides from his presentation here. http://www.slideshare.net/ThomasFlynn5/3d-scanning-for-regular-humans
Museum in a Box
This emerging company, co-founded by Tom Flynn and George Oates talked about how 3D scans of museum objects could be printed and made interactive with the help of a small computer called a ‘Raspberry Pi’ – slides here.
— Thomas Flynn (@nebulousflynn) December 8, 2015
Raspberry Pi recipes
As if by magic, following on from George’s talk about using a Raspberry Pi to make museum objects interactive, Philip Miles from Sheringham Museum in Norfolk showed how they had used a small Museums Association grant to develop the use of these compact computers within their galleries. They used the simple but powerful technology to play oral history files from rotary telephones and turn touch-screens and PowerPoint into interactives.
I’d love to explore how this technology can influence potential funding bids, or how we might develop training opportunities around these topics in the future. If you’re interested in either, please drop me an email.
Cornwall Digital Network
I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Digital Network meeting in Cornwall, made up of museums and archives from the region. The group will be meeting a few times a year to share best practise and arrange training in key areas. If you’d like to find out more about digital projects and training in Cornwall, please contact the Digital Coordinator Charlotte Todd.
Finally, I’m looking to establish a ‘Copyright Forum’ in the West of England and Cornwall from this spring, following further training with heritage copyright expert Naomi Korn. This will be an opportunity for museums to come together in a supportive forum to discuss how copyright will impact their work, as well as discuss relevant topics within copyright legislation. This is being set up in response to the results of 2015’s Digital Needs survey which suggested copyright was a major concern for colleagues in museums. If you would like to be kept up to date with details of the copyright forum, please email me and I’ll put you on the list!