Yes, that’s right! We’re busily preparing ourselves to sell our new Make Your Own kits online! We hope to open up the shop before the end of the year so we can send out early sales before Christmas. It’s exciting to know that some of the kits are already spoken for – headed for a teachers’ association in Spain, and a museum at Harvard, and more places!
Well, our first crowdfunding campaign is over, and, it was a success! The campaign was shaped around kickstarting our co-design pilot for a new version of Museum in a Box called Make Your Own.
Now that we’ve been building bespoke commissions for institutions like Smithsonian Libraries, British Museum, and the V&A, our technology concept is proven. Our hardware design for the Box is now at Version 1, and the software platform we’ve developed to configure Collections and Boxes works. So, the Make Your Own product can build on these resources, and we can send kits out that connect the Box, some NFC stickers, instructions on how to make a great Collection, and the software platform. While we intend to continue making commissions for people, we want Make Your Own to be our path to scaling Museum in a Box, letting a thousand museums bloom in classrooms, libraries, museums and homes around the world.
Back in June, we enlisted 40 different groups around the world to participate in the pilot, and we’re so excited that we can now order all the hardware we’ll need to build those 40 Boxes, and reach out to all 40 groups personally to crack on with user research about their environments and how they’ve been thinking about Museum in a Box. Here is a list of all the participants: a great mix of teachers, libraries, parents, museums, and even a farm!
So, we must take a moment to thank all our Crowdfunder supporters. We simply couldn’t have kicked off this ambitious pilot without this injection of capital, so thank you. You’ve really made a huge difference to our capacity to bring this thing to life!
Naomi Alderman, Cristóbal Álvarez, Nicky Birch, Alex Blood, Julie Bottrell, Stewart Butterfield, Sara Rouse Cardello, Daniel Catt, Daniel Cohen, Rachel Coldicutt, Blaine Cook, Henry Cooke, Eric Costello, russell davies, Taryn Davies, Katie Day, Martin Devereux, Molly Ditmore, Imwen Eke, Joanna Ellis, Rebekah Ford, Anne and Forbes Fowlie, Belinda and James Fowlie, David C Frazer, Rachel L Frick, Katharine Handel, Claire Hansford, Chris Heathcote, James Jefferies, Courtney Johnston, D Jones, Greta Lake, Claire Lanyon, Mai Le, Annette Mees, Fiona Miller, Evelyn Neufeld, Nick O’Leary, Margaret and Jeff Oates, Daniel Pett, Jacqueline Pease, Jennifer Phillips-Bacher, Anna Pickard, Kim Plowright, Annelynn Pyck, Clare Reddington, Jo Roach, Frankie Roberto, Cassie Robinson, Sophie Sampson, Dinah Sanders, Nick Stanhope, Jo Stichbury, ben terrett, Jennifer Tharp, Ben Vershbow, Matt Webb, Gill Wildman, Simon Wistow… and several folks who wish to remain anonymous. You shall forever be enshrined on our About Us page.
On a personal note, even though I’ve had a ton of fun developing this business over the last three years or so, and I think we’re heading in a great direction, it’s also been bloody hard, and it’s been so lovely to have friends and family support and endorse what I’m trying to do here. Really, it’s such a boost. Thank you.
(And, if you’d still like to support us, please do! The Crowdfunder page has now switched to “always on” mode, so you’re very welcome to make a donation there at any time.)
In case you don’t know, Museum in a Box is a tactile, interactive device you can use to explore museum collections from around the world. You can watch our How It Works video if you haven’t seen it before.
Just about every teacher we meet wants a Make Your Own version of Museum in a Box, and we’re ready to respond to that demand. We’re looking to place Boxes into a creative classroom process, as a project-based learning tool, where students select and print their own objects around any subject or theme, produce audio responses, and connect everything up with NFC stickers and our software.
Make Your Own will help kids learn skills like curation, collaboration, critical thinking, writing, audio production, digitisation, information & media literacy, and maybe even 3D printing.
We’re also looking for small cultural organisations to try it, and hopefully an artist or two as well. It’s not just for a classroom setting, and we’d like to see if it’s useful for small museum outreach too.
So, we’re like to ask you if you’d be interested to participate in our Make Your Own pilot programme, which we’d like to run in the first six months of 2019. You can be anywhere in the world!
The rough schedule looks like this:
- End of 2018: recruit participants, design initial materials, prep software, gather hardware stock
- Jan-Mar 2019: conduct baseline evaluation, build hardware/boxes, send out Kits
- Apr-Jun 2019: continue evaluation, design iteration as needed, conduct short term completion evaluation, determine scaling requirements
Our target is to work with 20 schools or smaller cultural organisations in the pilot, but, if this registration of interest process shows a lot more demand, we’ll see what we can do about expanding that ambition!
What we’ll provide, at no charge:
- One free Make Your Own starter kit (contains a Box, 20 NFC stickers, our software platform)
- An iterative set of progressive curriculum outlines that can be adapted to your students’ age
- Lesson plan suggestions to facilitate producing materials for the box (objects and content)
- Good cheer!
What we expect from you:
- A willingness to Really Try The Thing with us
- Availability for either in-person or online interviews
- Creative and critical feedback about what’s working and how you could make it better
- A certain amount of classroom time with your student (or organisation time with your crew) to think about making a great Museum in a Box
- Possible public feedback and/or video interview and/or guest blog posts and things like that
What you’ll get:
- Excitement and gratitude!
- Credit where credit is due, as early adopter, innovative cultural capital builders
- A network of like-minded cultural/educational professionals
So… if you’re interested, do please let us know using this simple Google form!