This gallery contains 5 photos.
Botanic Gardens and education go hand-in-trowel (or hand-in-microscope) and have a long interconnected history. The raison d’être of a Botanic Garden – as opposed to a park or pleasure garden – is that in a Botanic Garden plant collections are identified, labelled and studied. Modern botanic gardens developed from European physic gardens and were devised […]
This has been my first week working in the Museum of Zoology, where I will spending the first part of my project. I am working in a discipline completely out of my comfort zone of archaeology, which leaves a lot of space for me to walk round the displays and storage spaces marvelling open-mouthed at the wealth of creatures represented by the collection. This morning I worked next to the skeleton of a crow, a dolphin’s skull and various things in jars… I wanted to be a marine biologist if I couldn’t be an archaeologist as a child, so this is heaven for me.. I will post some pictures next week.
This week, I have spent a lot of time looking at how to best manage the process of creating a digital engagement plan, and improving the museum’s Wikipedia page. Wikipedia is a key point of contact with academic knowledge for all kinds of people from all walks of life, and making sure that organisational Wikipedia pages are accurate, extensive and well-cited will bring a lot of interest to the museum in the long-term. It is a simple, low-cost, high impact method of public outreach. Wikipedia is the 6th most important source of traffic to the museum’s website, and means we have a global audience who want to find out more. Have a look at the improved page here, and see what you think: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_University_Museum_of_Zoology
My Connecting with Collections project will explore the forms and methods by which both the public and fellow museum professionals outside of the University of Cambridge Archaeology and Anthropology Museum and Museum of Zoology are engaged with the Museums through digital technologies, and the potential for future developments in the digital direction for public outreach. My project will assess how these communications could be improved, to benefit both members of the public as users and the museums.
This work will be undertaken though a series of evaluations of activities and collections, in-person interviews with staff, museum visitors and users of the MAA Object Identification Service, and online consultation with museum visitors and other museum professionals, through a series of surveys and email correspondence.
I hope that this research project will address the opportunities for the two museums to widen participation and engage new audiences on a more collaborative platform. This research will provide reliable data that can be used to improve user experience, engagement and participation, and embed usability and sustainability which can be applied across the University museums service.
This project is aligned very nicely with my PhD research which examines the use of Internet technologies in archaeological communities involved in public engagement and outreach work in the UK. I’m looking forward to getting started on the 4th February!