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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Grant Museum wins Museums and Heritage Award for Excellence

By Mark Carnall, on 17 May 2012

Last night a contingent from UCL including colleagues from Museums and Public Engagement, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and Heritage Without Borders headed down to the illustrious premises of 8 Northumberland for the 10th Anniversary Museums and Heritage Awards. In total three UCL projects had been shortlisted; the move of the Grant Museum for Project on A Limited Budget, the Grant Museum’s QRator project for Innovations, and Heritage Without Borders for The International Award. Did we bring home the silver (glass)? Well from the title of this post you can gather we did but you’ll have to hit the jump to find out more..

We won the Innovations award for QRator: Visitor Participation Through Social Interpretation. Here’s what the award looks like, complete with our grubby finger prints from last night. Some of them may even be comedienne and broadcaster Sue Perkins’ who presented the award.

Grant Museum Museums and Heritage Award

There’s a whole raft of people who need thanking and who were instrumental in the QRator project. In no order they are: Andrew Hudson-Smith and the original team behind Tales of Things from UCL Centre for Advance Spatial Analysis, Steven Gray from CASA who developed the QRator app and has been our 24/7 helpdesk ever since, Claire Ross from UCL Digital Humanities who worked with me originally in trialling QR codes in the Grant Museum and who has been instrumental in researching, supporting and spreading QRator, Melissa Terras and Claire Warwick also from Digital Humanities who have given continuous feedback on the project as well as share the burden of the numerous published papers on the project, Susannah Chan from UCL Museums and Public Engagement for inventing the mounts for the iPads, Grant Museum Manager Jack Ashby who writes the content and designs the displays for QRator, Grant Museum colleagues Emma-Louise Nicholls and Simon Jackson who moderate the content day in and day out, UCL Public Engagement Unit for their funding and support of the project, Sally MacDonald Director of UCL Museums and Public Engagement who has been a huge driving force behind the project and key to realising it and of course the visitors of the Grant Museum who interact with QRator and interpret the Grant collections. Without them this project would literally be nothing.

Here’s what Director of Museums and Public Engagement, Sally MacDonald, has to say about the project:

“Museums are traditionally rather passive places where visitors read labels written by curators. Even museum interactives are usually pre-programmed with set responses. We wanted to experiment with putting public dialogue at the heart of the museum and QRator has helped us do that in a way that could transform the way museums work. What’s even better is that it’s been such a great collaboration with a group of really creative researchers across several UCL disciplines. Already it’s leading to new projects”

We’re not bitter about not scooping the other awards, getting shortlisted was achievement enough, especially as there was a wide range of really impressive projects from a sector that has been hard hit with cuts, you can see the full list of winners, commendations and the full shortlists here.

UPDATE: The Digital Urban blog post about the award. Clare Ross’s thoughts on the evening over at her blog. Melissa Terras’, Co-Director of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and unofficial tattoo artist, blog post about the evening.

UPDATE 2: Now with Flickr gallery. Warning some images may depict slight inebriation/elation.

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