Social Interpretation – applying the principles of social media to relationships with cultural objects

Imperial War Museum with Gooi, University College London, Exeter University, Salford University and MTM London

Museums and galleries have always been interested in technology which can enrich the visitor’s experience, but contemporary digital media now opens up the possibility of the public directly engaging with an object and contributing to its understanding. 

Social Interpretation was developed by Tom Grinsted at the Imperial War Museum and Claire Ross of the Centre for Digital Humanities at University College London (UCL). It was based on the idea of applying the technology model of social media to relationships with objects in museums. The technology partner was Knowledge Integration, with web design company Gooii. Research and evaluation was carried out by teams led by Gabriella Giannachi at the University of Exeter and Gaynor Bagnell at the University of Salford. The researchers focused on the key issue: does the application of social media models to cultural collections successfully increase engagement and reach?

Find out more about the project and its outcomes in this video, or download further detail from the PDF reports below.