Internal R&D Project #3: Museum in a Box

We have exciting news on several fronts today.

First, friend-of-GF&S Cassie Robinson has offered us a pop-up space at Somerset House for two weeks, starting Wednesday. It’ll be next to Cassie’s excellent Civic Shop. We’ve decided to prototype a couple of big ideas in public there.

The Small Museum

The Small Museum is a major research project we’re undertaking with the basic provocation of What could a 21st Century museum be like if you built it from scratch? We’re going to start our very first physical instantiation of this question at Somerset House.

For ease of use, we’ve started a new, separate website to document our work: We’ll also be tweeting from @thesmallmuseum, if you’d like to follow along.

Museum in a Box

Last Friday, we received our prototype set of objects for our third internal R&D project, called Museum in a Box.


The prototype box contains 10 objects from The British Museum’s collection. We’re working on building a page for each of them now. The short term plan for our next two weeks is to prototype ideas around the box, content for each object, and a handful of different interaction design models for engagement. It suddenly dawned on me last week that our short stay at Somerset House is actually a fantastic environment to talk to people who are visiting semi-randomly about the idea and see what they think. I’ll be joined by Harriet Maxwell and Tom Flynn.

We’re expecting a bunch of visitors by appointment too, so if you’d like to come and hang out (and ideally participate and even make something with us), we’d love it.

There’s already a bit of chatter about the project in its very early days…

And, just last Saturday, I took the prototype — actually a Museum in a Bag for now — to a fun collaboration/pitching day at Ideas Create in Kent. It was really enjoyable and useful to hear what people thought about the general idea. (Thanks to Jon Pratty for the invitation to participate too.)

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