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New Book Chapter: Enhancing Museum Naratives: Tales of Things and UCL’s Grant Museum

By Mark Carnall, on 16 January 2014

Image of the cover for The Mobile StoryEarlier this year a book chapter I co-authored with UCL colleagues, deep breath, Claire Ross (Centre for Digital Humanities), Andrew Hudson-Smith (Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis), Claire Warwick (Department of Information Studies), Melissa Terras (Centre for Digital Humanities) and Steven Gray (Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis)  was published in the volume The Mobile Story, Narrative Perspectives with Locative Technologies.

The book covers all aspects of when stories meet locative technologies from apps to maps and from dancing with Twitter to haunting public spaces through mobile devices. Our chapter, Enhancing Museum Narratives Tales of Things and UCL’s Grant Museum, examines using mobile media for enhanced meaning making and narrative engagement in museum spaces.

The book chapter explores how mobile media in museum spaces can both enhance narratives and empowering members of the public to ‘curate’ exhibitions and objects using their mobile phones. We explore the range of mobile media projects that were available at the time and dissect the findings from a small pilot project we undertook in the Grant Museum before it was relocated using QR codes and Tales of Things (the findings, approach informing our award winning QRator project). Here’s the chapter abstract to whet the appetite:

Chapter Abstract

Written collectively by a group of academics, curators, and designers, this chapter looks at the utilization of mobile media for enhanced meaning making and narrative engagement in museums. Focusing on the collaborative project, titled QRator, they analyze the ways that QR codes have been incorporated into the Grant Museum as a means to increase the amount of information available about museum artifacts and, perhaps more importantly, involve the museum-goers in discussing that content. Comparing the QRator project to other mobile museum projects, this chapter demonstrates the emerging trend to incorporate the “Internet of Things” into the experiences with historical objects. In the context of ubiquitous computing, in which devices are embedded into innumerable facets of daily life, objects can be connected with data in seamless and meaningful ways. This data can be contributed to, commented on, and altered by users as a means to bring historical objects to life and tie them into contemporary conversations about how objects become integral to the ways we practice modes of historicizing.

In addition to the book content, each chapter has suggested hands-on exploration exercise on the book website with suggested activities for tutors and teachers looking at mobile narratives. The hands-on exploration for our chapter can be found here.

The book is published by Routledge and can be purchased from these retailers.

Mark Carnall is the ‘True’ Curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology

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