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3D Museums: tactile learning, greater access (with presenter notes)

George Oates
George Oates
George OatesExecutive Director at Flickr Foundation, flickr.org

Here are the slides for a presentation I gave at Faro's "Heritage, virtual and augmented" conference in Brussels in November 2016. http://www.faronet.be/kalender/erfgoed-virtueel-en-augmented

3D Museums: tactile learning, greater access (with presenter notes)

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3D Museums:

tactile learning, greater access
George Oates
CEO & Co-founder @ Museum in a Box
@ukglo @_museuminabox
Faro, Brussels, 29 November 2016
Hi, and thanks to Bart for inviting me to join you. Thanks also to you, for letting me speak English. My Dutch is woeful.
I’m here to talk to you about a product I’m working on called Museum in a Box.
George Oates Adrian McEwen Thomas Flynn
Let me first introduce you to my team. We’re a small group of designers trying to reveal hidden museum collections and connect them to learners in the classroom.
We’ve been prototyping our idea for about a year now, honing in on what our tech needs to do, and how we can support museum staff and teachers.


Many museums only have about
5% of their collection on display.



How can we help show 10%,
20%, or even 100%?
So, what’s the problem this product is trying to solve?
When objects are on display, they’re usually under glass. 



This is especially true in a digital context, when all you can do is swipe, pinch or zoom to explore an object.
In terms of access, it can also be difficult for schools to visit museums in person, especially those outside a local area.
Photo:
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/22/barbara-hepworth-tate-britain-review-sculptors-open-air-spirit-gets-locked-away
We’re bringing museums to the
classroom.
So, instead, we’d like to update and extend the existing idea of a handling collection, and get more museum objects into more classrooms and homes.
A lot of this is possible thanks to the emerging field of 3D digitisation, but that’s not a central feature.
Let me show you a quick video about how it works…
3D Museums: tactile learning, greater access (with presenter notes)

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3D Museums: tactile learning, greater access (with presenter notes)

  • 1. 3D Museums:
 tactile learning, greater access George Oates CEO & Co-founder @ Museum in a Box @ukglo @_museuminabox Faro, Brussels, 29 November 2016 Hi, and thanks to Bart for inviting me to join you. Thanks also to you, for letting me speak English. My Dutch is woeful. I’m here to talk to you about a product I’m working on called Museum in a Box.
  • 2. George Oates Adrian McEwen Thomas Flynn Let me first introduce you to my team. We’re a small group of designers trying to reveal hidden museum collections and connect them to learners in the classroom. We’ve been prototyping our idea for about a year now, honing in on what our tech needs to do, and how we can support museum staff and teachers. 

  • 3. Many museums only have about 5% of their collection on display.
 
 How can we help show 10%, 20%, or even 100%? So, what’s the problem this product is trying to solve?
  • 4. When objects are on display, they’re usually under glass. 
 
 This is especially true in a digital context, when all you can do is swipe, pinch or zoom to explore an object. In terms of access, it can also be difficult for schools to visit museums in person, especially those outside a local area. Photo: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/22/barbara-hepworth-tate-britain-review-sculptors-open-air-spirit-gets-locked-away
  • 5. We’re bringing museums to the classroom. So, instead, we’d like to update and extend the existing idea of a handling collection, and get more museum objects into more classrooms and homes. A lot of this is possible thanks to the emerging field of 3D digitisation, but that’s not a central feature. Let me show you a quick video about how it works…
  • 7. 21st Century skills + Object-based learning In terms of learning with a Museum in a Box, we’re keen to blend two core educational approaches:21st Century skills and Object-based learning.
  • 8. 21st Century skills
 www.p21.org 
 
 cogent reasoning, evidence collection, critical-thinking, problem-solving, analytical
 communication 21st Century skills are an approach that comes out of the United States. P21, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning, was founded there in about 2002, as a coalition to bring together the business community, education leaders and policymakers to position 21st Century readiness at the centre of US K thru 12 education. It’s not about learning facts, but learning how to think and communicate.
  • 9. OBJECT Production Materials Historical implications Aesthetic value Environmental relevance Use Social implications Relations to other objects Value Object’s history Complementary information ‘Learning from Objects’ diagram. DfES publication DfES/0159/2002, page 11. Published by RCMG, Feb 2002 When you blend this critical thinking with museum objects, good things start to happen. This is a chart of the types of questions you can ask of an object….
  • 10. Object as prompt We’ve included some “prompt cards” in a few of our prototype boxes, to help encourage some creative thinking around what objects are. We love the idea that the object itself is a prompt, too. It’s as if holding it in your hand helps you reflect on it.
  • 11. Tactile response This is the Venus of Willendorf. She’s about 27,000 years old. This is a 3D print of her, made of gypsum. She’s about real size, and feels about the same as her original material. As you hold her, and explore her, it’s only then that you can develop a real sense of the interpretation that she might be a self-portrait. If you hold her so you’re looking down her body, you can see it clearly. You can’t rotate her if you visit her in Austria, where her original lives. This sense of materiality is exciting! It’s most present in the high quality 3D prints like this one, but even the plastic ones you might have seen give you some sense. We thought you might also be able to include samples of the materials objects are made of in each box so even if you have postcards or plastic prints, you can feel what the original is like.
  • 12. Robust, replicable, replaceable museum objects We were lucky enough to go to the British Museum — thanks Lizzie — to show a demonstration box in the families room there. We met Freya there, and enjoyed hearing what she thought of the project. If you look closely at this photo, you can see Freya is actually wearing one of the objects – an amulet – around her neck as she listens to another story about one of the postcards… If the boxes are full of replica objects or 2D images, they will perhaps be a little more tolerant of small hands and lots of playing. It’s also possible simply to make another one if one breaks. Or perhaps the kids might enjoy repairing it.
  • 13. We have also made some augmented reality experiments which work really well. Using a free application called Augment, you can project an object’s real size into an environment. Showing accurate size is difficult with 3D printing, but this simple projection immediately shows you how big the original is. It’s fun when you do it with a massive thing, like a Buddha that’s six metres high in a small office :)
  • 14. Use cheap, open tech; encourage DIY At the moment, we’re using Raspberry PIs and a few other bits and pieces for our “brains” in the box. We chose Pi because they have an educational mission, but also because their hardware has a great community, and is stable, and not *too* expensive. Encourage DIY: engineering, IoT, 3D digitisation, product development We are hoping that students will hack their own boxes together - as the kids get older and start taking classes about Design and Tech, maybe they can program their own box, even curating them from museums around the world… This comes back to those 21st Century skills I mentioned. There’s a bunch about appropriation and remixing and stuff like that - we want to encourage that behaviour here. Importantly too, we want to encourage people to create different content about their Museum in a Box.
  • 15. Record your impression, narrative, counter-narrative This is our first version of an extension to the brain, where you can record your own content about the objects in the box. Teachers, in particular, like the idea that the box can also gather thinking and work about the objects. What would it be like if you were able to deliver content created by ten year olds to other ten years olds, and even in a another country?
  • 16. Exponential increase in access? What happens to scarcity if you have thousands of museum object replicas? What if we are able to create recombinant, on-demand museum collections from around the world? What if a teacher can create her own collection for her class from the best international sources?
 Our crazy vision is exponential increase in access to museum objects; imagining a box and its brain in every class in the UK… no, no, THE WORLD!!!
 
 Maybe it could be like “Spotify for Museums”.
  • 17. Objects connected Did you ever play that game where you join two tin cans with a piece of string then talk to each other? Maybe an object could act as one end of a conversation… between students, or a student and a curator, or even an academic and a curator…
  • 18. Objects come alive What would Hoa Hakananai’a, who is now kept at the British Museum, say to his lost and stolen friend who now lives at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History? What new lives could objects have? What new stories could they tell? We believe that access is a form of preservation. The more people witness, or better yet, describe, or even touch an object, the more it is preserved.
  • 19. Thanks!
 
 Museum in a Box: 
 tactile learning, greater access George Oates CEO & Co-founder @ Museum in a Box @ukglo glo@museuminabox.org @_museuminabox