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Beyond the Label

Visitors scanning the Beyond the Label labels in Gallery 3A new digital intervention in the Fitzwilliam Museum has been released as part of the celebrated refurbishment of Gallery 3. Within this glorious space, the museum’s Digital and Curatorial teams have collaborated to create a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) experience, which enables the visitor to access enhanced information about key objects displayed within this gallery and one object found in Gallery 7.

Enhanced information is accessed through the visitor’s smart phone using 3 methods of interaction – QR codes, Near Field Communication chips (NFC) or by typing in a short URL – which has been compiled on this website, accessible on and off the museum estate. Combining the methods on one label ensures that as many visitors as possible are able to experience the enhanced content in-gallery. These pages enable the visitor to discover assets from the Museum’s digital archives, from newly commissioned photography and collaboratively written essays with colleagues from the University. To build on the public’s sense-of-wonder at the physical objects, they can use several of their senses to engage on a virtual level with masterpieces from Keats, Poussin, Gainsborough, van Dyck and Mytens.

This project is very much an experimental, but reproducible, digital project which was developed in just 2 weeks, with the only cost being the NFC enabled stickers, which are found behind the labels – a grand total of £2.75 – and uses open source code to create a website that other museums could reuse and adapt. This work builds upon recently funded AHRC research projects that the museum has been pursuing and brings elements of the technologies explored by our post-doctoral researchers to bear within the galleries of the museum.

Image © Martin Bond 2019
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