Visit Us

We’re doing a two-week residency at The Civic Workshop in The New Wing at Somerset House in London. Starting March 18, we’ll be experimenting in public on The Small Museum Version 1. We plan to be there Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm (or thereabouts).

Go to The New Wing, look for signs that say Knyttan. Once you see the red neon door, turn back from the entrance. Find butterfly. We’re excited to show you the Museum in a Box project and have a chat about what you think.

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Visit Us at Somerset House

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museuminabox

Ready as we’ll ever be

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Box V1
Looking at Nandi Bulls
#museuminabox

We’ll be at Somerset House tomorrow afternoon after noon. I’m sure it will be a dog’s breakfast, so you might consider waiting until Thursday to visit. (But, we won’t turn you away.)

We’re in The New Wing, next to the Civic Shop. It’s unlikely anyone will have heard of The Small Museum until we’ve finished, so might be best to use the Civic Shop as your marker.

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Super Rough Draft / V1 Planning

Harriet has laid out a useful overview of the sorts of things we’re thinking about as we embark into the unknown of The Small Museum Version 1 – you can see them photographed below. A very basic point of focus is that perhaps our central element should be the people who come into the room, and not the (very small) objects.

Long shortlist of ideas:

  • We’ll have 10 objects. We have about 10 days. Perhaps we focus on one object per day.
  • We want to explore context around each object. It’s not about showing tombstone metadata, but giving visitors a sense of what the object is and where it normally lives. Object as witness.
  • The space needs to be really dynamic. One thought is to use brown paper as our surface on the table and draw ideas all over it. We could add dates/times to paper to log their creation date/time (and potentially reproduce or replay).
  • We’re going to have a printer and a projector.
  • Use the BERG-tough technique of design-by-video during or after the event to expand on ideas.
  • Keep a count of how many people enter the room. (In a non-creepy way, or maybe in a really obvious, large, public way.)
  • Design at least two different boxes/housings for the museum in a box. Today we have a nice round Royal Doulton box that is fine for starters.
  • Design at least one RFID/NFC style interaction with one object. You place an object on a spot and something happens.
  • Tiptoe along the line of lo-fi, minimum viable museum and something that looks a bit designed, or thoughtful.

Here are Harriet’s guides for the things we’ll be thinking about.

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Also, yesterday I discovered the fantastic Pop-Up Museum, out of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. Of course it already exists! There’s a fantastic How-To Kit available there to help think through other stuff we’ll undoubtedly miss.

I must admit though, while I don’t necessarily want to reinvent every wheel, it feels important to stumble around a bit and find our way through doing stuff and talking to people. That’s half the fun anyway. Not knowing what the hell is going to happen on any one day, but working to a basic plan is… invigorating!

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Prototyping in Public

Exciting news! Thanks to Cassie Robinson, The Small Museum is about to get its very first public airing as an idea. We’re going to be doing a two-week residency at Somerset House, just next door to Cassie’s Civic Shop in The New Wing. (There was a project called the Civic Bureau in that space, but that project has now ended, so we’re going to pop in for the end bit. Great that the space won’t go to waste!)

Somerset House, north end
CC BY-SA 2.0 by Cary Bass-Deschenes


I’ll be joined by Harriet Maxwell and Tom Flynn for most of our two weeks, and hopefully you. Our simple plan is to take a different tack each day. We’ll have a handy device with us, a new R&D project out of Good, Form & Spectacle called Museum in a Box. It’s a 3D-printed set of 10 objects from The British Museum. We’ll use this box and its contents in the space to explore ideas around content, representation, interaction and visitor participation.

If you’d like to come and visit, do please let us know! We’ll be tweeting from @thesmallmuseum if you’d like to follow along.

We’re jumping in the deep end. Luckily it’s quite a small room.

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