Connecting Collections

April 2013 saw the beginning of this exciting new two-year education project, funded by Arts Council England under their Renaissance Strategic support fund.  Here’s an overview of what we’re doing…

Culture24, with Culture Street and Collections Trust and supported by Trinity College, have created a new digital service enabling children, young people and teachers to discover and use digital collections content in interactive, exciting ways.

Online museum and gallery collections are not yet being made available to children, young people and teachers in ways that meet their needs as learners, researchers or creators. Collection holders don’t have clear routes to these audiences who often aren’t aware of the rich resources existing in disparate digital ‘silos’.

We’ve published a curated set of digital collection objects from a range of museums in child-friendly, fun and flexible online environments. We’ve brought it to life with video content co-created by children and young people; topical editorial; related venue and listings info; plus existing interactive and interpretative content from museums and galleries.

The project will support museums and schools in delivering cross-curricular, creative and cultural learning experiences at KS2&3.  We’ve added value to content by making links to Arts Award explicit and mapping it to the Arts Award framework.

Project fundamentals:

- Our target users lie at the heart of the idea and will be involved in production throughout

- All content is age-appropriate, engaging and safe

- All content is ‘curated’ by experts and (where appropriate) by users to maximise discoverability, relevance and quality

- We’ve avoided duplication: featuring, connecting, signposting and repurposing existing museum content wherever possible.

Collections: we’ve focused on a selected, manageable sub-set of collection objects. Standard, shareable and flexible formats will ensure legacy and meet user needs. Objects all carry contextual information and links to their ‘home’ museums. Culture24 will lead object sourcing, working closely with museums. Collections Trust will advise on data strategies and support data provision via existing Culture Grid infrastructure.

Content packages: experience tells us our target audiences require clear, engaging ‘ways in’ to cultural content. Culture Street worked with children and young people to create a series of short films highlighting collection objects from UK museums as seen through young eyes. We’ve given voice to the unique perspective and views of young people ages 7-14. Video and interactive content have been packaged to create learning journeys, encouraging exploration of collection themes. Films will reflect key elements of Arts Award, particularly ‘Finding out about an Arts Organisation’. Trinity College’s team will support and contribute to programme planning.

On your doorstep: Culture24 already aggregates subject-themed information on museum venues, exhibitions and events. This layer of content will support and inspire audiences in finding real-world collections to visit.

Promotion: The new digital collections resource for young people is jointly published on a new, refreshed version of the popular www.Show.Me.uk site and on www.CultureStreet.org.uk, exploiting our existing audiences and networks. Partners will together create and implement strategic marketing plans, incorporating social media platforms such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Retronaut and Twitter where appropriate. We’ll also work with museums and high profile publishing partners to disseminate content as widely as possible via their existing platforms.

Arts Council England logo

For further info contact Anra Kennedy: anra@culture24.org.uk.