We’ve been working on Museum in a Box for just over a year now. We have made lots of prototypes, talked to all sorts of people, and had lots of exciting adventures. This is a little late coming, but Tom and I wanted to consciously reflect on last year’s work as we swing around to planning 2017 (which I’ll write about a bit later).
We’ve chosen a set of particular highlights that we thought stood out, and noted some casual reactions to them… Hope you enjoy the format 🙂
We were also pleased as punch to host Imogen Piper, a design student from Goldsmith’s, and Charlie Cattel-Killick, a sustainable product design graduate from Falmouth University who we ended up bringing into the fold!
Anne’s Big Stuff from the British Museum
- George: When you’re starting something, it’s so helpful to have simple, unconditional support. Thanks to Russell for thinking of us.
- Tom: This was great to kick start our production process and get us thinking about collections and the juxtaposition of object and content.
Ancient Egypt, Daily Lives
British Museum demo box
- George: A tiny insect tries to bite a huge beast. Thanks to Lizzie and Chris for not squishing us immediately, but allowing us to nibble for a bit. 😀
- Tom: A nice first step working with a biggie. An excercise in designing 3D replicas from scratch and we got to test the box with some real-life museum kids!
Frogs in a Box
Smithsonian demo box
- George: Our first remote deployment. Very exciting to see a photo of the box in Washington DC.
- Tom: Another stellar commision for us! Extremely grateful to Martin and Sara for believing in our potential.
- George: It was such a thrill to see Tom make this. A completely new form factor, and public domain content.
- Tom: Sometimes it’s fun to run with a simple idea and this got a good public reaction. Bonus!
I See Wonder
- George: Dreaming about a large pilot around the Smithsonian Libraries “I See Wonder” program (20 schools across 20 US states, working with kids on design, too) gave us a real taste of how big this thing could get, and stretched us handily considering such a big deployment.
- Tom: Seeing what happens when we match our design and tech with Sara Cardello’s learning framework was pretty inspirational tbh!
- George: We always knew we’d need help with distribution of boxes, and MOO’s NFC tech was right up our alley. Thanks to Chad, Phil, and Richard for supporting our crazy schemes!
- Tom: Another nice (and ongoing) match: MOO make lovely paper products with embedded NFC that plays nice with our Brains. Plus we get to hang out with packaging expert Phil Thomas.
Select Clients & Projects
- George: One of our first pieces of work that went from original objects to prints, thanks to Tom’s amazing 3D chops.
- Tom: A nice validation of how 3D scanning can create access to the inaccessible and an amazing glimpse into how hard small museum staff work to connect people to heritage.
- George: All sorts of opportunities here, from in-gallery display to outreach. Plus, they have an enigma machine.
- Tom: Feels good that museum education staff here are exploring how 3D & interactive can be used in their work.
- George: Part of our 2016 strategy was to try to work directly with big museums. Proud to say our “Frogs in a Box” box achieved this goal.
- Tom: Wuuuut?! Yes this is true and makes me very happy.
First custom PCB
- George: Even though the PCB is quite small, this was an exciting step for me. I absolutely love our physical progress bar feature, and was equally thrilled when Adrian suggested a custom board to support it! I should probably make some jewellry.
- Tom: Adrian is a genius and made this look so simple! Inspirational and functional 🙂
- George: We had been thinking integration with micro:bit would be good for us — probably like lots of other people! — because it has been so well distributed across the country. Still thinking that.
- Tom: It was amazing to have Tom and Michal from Microsoft Research (!) in our studio, taking us through the possibilities of connecting our Brains to the micro:bit – and then making it happen!
Slippery travel crap / VHNIreland video
- George: A mixture of deep regret and happiness because Tom and I made a good video to play at the talk we missed. Funny how adversity can produce lots of smiles 🙂
- Tom: We were invited, we prepared, we missed the plane, we made a video, we were there in spirit. VHN are lovely people!
- George: I really enjoyed meeting the folks around this workshop, particularly the amazing 3D printing engineers at Lancaster. Thanks to Richard and Caroline for inviting me!
- Tom: An exercise in capturing an event and working with (very clever) young people at the event in Berlin.
Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage (FARO)
- George: Great to visit Brussels to talk about our work and “virtual heritage”. Nice to have Lizzie Edwards as my travel companion, too.
All in all, a pretty good year! Can’t wait to build on what we consider to be a great success. It’s also important to recognise and celebrate the efforts of Adrian McEwen, our brilliant technical partner from The North, who is responsible for much of the hardware-related development we’ve done this year (and some software too). Thanks, Adrian!