Video still for Gift

Create a gift for someone you love.

If you’ve ever made a playlist or a mixtape for someone you love, this is the same, except with objects from a museum. Using your smartphone, you choose objects they would like and record messages - Gift then wraps it all up and sends it to them, digitally. What you choose to include is up to you - a picture that triggers a memory you share, or just contains their favourite colour. It’s personal, speaking directly to the person you send it to.

Gift on smartphone

To find out where you can experience Gift now, have a look at the list of Participating Museums in the sidebar.

Want to host Gift at your museum? Click here to find out how.

Gift draws on the practice of gifting as a way to facilitate personalisation and social sharing in museums. It allows visitors to define their own journey through a museum’s collection by encouraging them to create a bespoke tour for a friend or loved one.

A narrator on the visitor’s phone asks them to think of someone they love before guiding them to explore the museum. The tone is informal with minimal written instructions, freeing visitors from looking at their screen as they explore.

Visitors are invited to select up to three objects for their recipient, taking a photo and making a recording for each. The app then uploads these photos and recordings and allows them to send these as a digital gift via one of their social channels.

The open source platform

Gift was developed over three years through a series of public prototypes hosted at Brighton Museum, evolving with the help of insights from the public and from working with the team there. Hear Brighton Museum’s Digital Manager, Kevin Bacon, talk about the process in this video:

The software used for Gift was designed to provide a lightweight platform for museums to offer thoughtful, shareable and persistent digital experiences with their collections.

The platform is open source and available to use and extend for free or with support from Blast Theory.

Get the code from Gitlab or read our information pack to learn more about hosting Gift.

The research project

Gift is part of a three-year research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Beginning in January 2017, the project explored the potential of virtual museums in establishing meaningful user experiences which allow for personal, complex and emotional encounters with art and cultural heritage.

The project brings together our long-term collaborators at the University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Lab with IT University Copenhagen, University of Uppsala, Next Game, the Europeana Foundation and Culture24.

Read more about other prototypes and tools in the research project

Gift was made in collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham and with the support of Royal Pavilion & Museums.

Gift is part of a three year research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727040. It is a collaboration with IT University Copenhagen, University of Nottingham, University of Uppsala, Blast Theory, Next Game, the Europeana Foundation and Culture24.

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