Derbyshire museum set for digital revolution

24 January 2013

Visitors to Derbyshire County Council's Buxton Museum and Art Gallery could find themselves walking in the shoes of archaeologists and geologists thanks to a grant to explore the latest digital technology.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed £81,000 initial funding giving the museum a year to develop plans for interactive digital displays before applying for a second grant which would see the ideas come to life.

Staff at the museum, in Terrace Road, Buxton, plan to develop ways the collection can be explored using digital technology to give visitors a unique experience of the Peak District.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Leader Councillor Andrew Lewer said:

"It is really important we celebrate Derbyshire's heritage and keeping sites like Buxton Museum and Art Gallery refreshed for visitors new and old will help make this happen.

"We wanted to do something original and welcome the Heritage Lottery Fund grant which will allow us to use the latest technology to give visitors an experience that truly captures the beauty of our county and lets them get involved in a way they never could before."

The museum aims to make the experience more interactive with the project, called 'Collections in the Landscape', by putting visitors in the shoes of archaeologists or geologists.

As they stand next to archaeological sites and famous landmarks they will be prompted to use their smart phones or tablets to download information and images of what visitors in previous centuries would have seen when they visited.

And they will be invited to share their reactions through photographs, art or poetry − as well as visit the museum to see the artefacts from that location.

Partnerships are already coming together for the project which will include local people, schools, museums, heritage providers and tourist providers.

To start the project the museum has appointed Derbyshire-based company Audio Trails to bring to life the words of two of the museum's famous benefactors − Professor Sir William Boyd Dawkins and Dr J.W. Jackson.

The funding will also allow the appointment of:

  • Two part-time assistant collections officers for one year
  • Two part-time collection assistants for one year
  • Museum and digital interpretation specialists to explore creating virtual access to the collections and to review potential use of the gallery space.

The project will be managed by Buxton Museum and Art Gallery working with a wide range of partnership organisations.

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