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Participation projects

The Information Age gallery has been developed in partnership with a vast array of groups and individuals, all of whom have brought their own perspectives and insights to the objects and content on display.

The Science Museum would like to thank those who helped to make Information Age the exhibition it is.

  • Cameroon Forum
  • Samaritans
  • Royal London Society for Blind People
  • British Vintage Wireless Society
  • TigerEye Media
  • National Museums Scotland
  • Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
  • National Railway Museum
  • Cardiff Story Museum
  • Enfield Museum
  • Riverside Museum
  • Goldsmiths University
  • Bede House
  • Blind Veterans UK

INDIVIDUALS:

The Information Age gallery includes a section on mobile phones in the developing world, specifically in Cameroon.

There was a clear need to involve the community in the development of this story, to reflect on its social and economic impact. We needed to co-create a user-led, authentic display, so in 2011 we started working directly with the Cameroon community with the support of the Cameroon Forum.

Initially, members of the London Cameroonian community were consulted on how the Museum could tell the story of mobile phone usage in Cameroon. Their input helped to inform a field trip to Cameroon in March 2012, during which objects were collected, interviews conducted and photographs taken to contribute to the display.

Following this, the participants worked with the design and content teams to inform the text, images and audio-visual interpretation of the story. Then in spring 2014, the group created a short film for the gallery, to help interpret the objects on display.

Almost every aspect of the final display is different as a result of the participative project, and has challenged the Museum to share its voice and authority with others external to the organisation.

One surprising outcome was the way the group chose to represent their historical communications heritage as an important part of their lives today, highlighting its cultural and ceremonial significance.


With special thanks to:

  • Alex Bang
  • Serge Tchangue Ben and William Bin-Meh
  • Ernest Ekokobe
  • Elvis Ewane
  • Mercy Eyong
  • Nde Forcob
  • Mr Gana Formuso
  • Seraphin Kamdem
  • Leroy Kingue
  • Alexander Kouam
  • Sian Mafiamba
  • Jean Mboglem
  • Pouka Mbeng
  • Noah Messomo
  • Catherine Ndeley
  • Basil Ndjio
  • Isabelle Njoya
  • Delphine Oben
  • Corine Puemo
  • Delphine Singah
  • Ralph Tanyi
  • Nzo Tarh
  • Philip Williams
  • Nsangou Yenkong

From the early stages of planning, the Museum has been fully committed to making Information Age our most accessible to date. To help make this ambition a reality, a number of accessibility panels were created, with one in particular having a huge impact on the gallery’s outcome – our blind and partially sighted advisory panel.

This panel was formed of seven regular and highly-committed members, each with varying degrees of sight loss.

Over the course of more than two years, these members met regularly and focused their discussion on the ways in which we could improve the gallery’s accessibility for the visually impaired audience.

The group were intrinsically involved in the development and evaluation of specific resources targeted at blind and partially sighted visitor. This has included a new series of specially-commissioned tactile objects, large print books of gallery content, a tactile map, a new audio described app, and Braille labelling.

Over the course of 18 meetings, led by the project’s Access Expert, their input has been essential to making Information Age a sector-leading accessible experience.


With special thanks to:

  • Amit Amin
  • Robin Davies
  • Maureen Devlin
  • Hassan Khan
  • Harish Kumari
  • David Quigley
  • John Thomas

One of the transforming events explored in Exchange network (the area focusing on landline telephony), is the creation of Samaritans service. To ensure this important organisation was accurately represented in the telling of its story, we worked with both senior staff at the Samaritans alongside volunteers and supporters.

The project had two parts; working with the experts to consult and advise on the history of the organisation, and working with volunteers to gather their stories and experience of working with the Samaritans for an audio installation for the gallery.

Early discussions with the Samaritans helped us gain a better understanding of the organisation, including the essential messages that they wanted to communicate to the Museums’ audiences. This process also helped to identify new objects and printed materials for us to collect for the gallery.

The Museum also worked with a group of current volunteers and supporters, who shared their stories and experiences of the Samaritans service through recorded interviews. This audio has formed a powerful and thought-provoking exhibit within the gallery, which offers our visitors a deeper insight into the significant work of the Samaritans, both now and since its formation.


With special thanks to:

  • Chris Ashton
  • Rosie Ellis
  • Noel Franklin-Taylor
  • Brian and Joyce Gibbs
  • Rachel Holley
  • Becky Rayner
  • Herbie Ricketts

In order to support a display about telegraphy and to illustrate the type of messages sent by telegram across the UK, and the world, a group of volunteer community collectors joined the Information Age project team.

The Museum wanted to ensure the telegrams collected were representative of not just London-based communities, so partnerships were established with five other museums across the UK. Each museum recruited one to three participants each to undertake the task of hunting down these treasured objects.

Collecting days were hosted at each of the partner museums. Members of the public were invited to come along and share their telegrams with the community collectors, who scanned them and listened to the fascinating stories behind the messages.

These scans were then sorted and submitted to the Science Museum. Over 400 telegrams were shared over the summer of 2013, and nearly 100 of the best examples are displayed on a digital screen in the Information Age gallery.

The telegrams tell stories of births, marriages and deaths, wartime victories and losses, business news and royal greetings. They come from all across the UK, as well as the far reaches of Europe and Asia, and date back as far as the 1890s.

Read more about the collection process on our blog

Read thoughts from participating museums on how the collaboration affected them


With special thanks to:

  • Rosemary Chaloner
  • Katharine Majer
  • Angharad Howell
  • Noel Beal
  • Catherine Field
  • John Wallis
  • Kirke Kook
  • Maja Neske
  • Elena Trimarchi

To support the interpretation of Rafael Lozano Hemmer’s major new artwork, specially commissioned for the Information Age gallery, a group of MFA Art Curating students from Goldsmiths, University of London, joined the project team to work directly with the project’s art curator.

The students volunteered many hours of their time outside of their studies to research, develop and produce a number of outcomes for the project. This included writing labels for display in the gallery, researching and collating audio content, and writing content for a permanent computer kiosk that will support the artwork.

The group have also planned an exciting symposium for their artist peers, along with developing a live event for the Museum’s Lates programme to encourage visitors to engage with the artwork.


With special thanks to:

  • Nella Aarne
  • Antonio Garcia Acosta
  • Lucy Lopez
  • Zijin Miao
  • Carolina Ongaro
  • Lanny Walker

The introduction of the World Wide Web dramatically changed the way many of us communicate, but it had a significant and unique impact on those who are deaf or hard of hearing in particular.

A group of participants joined the project, contacted via the West London Hard of Hearing Group, to help us tell the stories of those who have experienced this impact first-hand. Over the course of a few months, seven sessions took place with the group, each exploring why the Web has made such a significant impact on the hard of hearing community specifically.

The group shared their experiences, and also discussed how best to present these stories to the Museum’s visitors. A decision was made to produce a series of short films with the participants, to be displayed as part of a digital screen exhibit in the gallery. Together, the group co-curated and developed the concepts for the films, and starred in the films too.


With special thanks to:

  • Lidia and Norman
  • Ian Clifford
  • Andrew Goodwin
  • Anthony Jefferson
  • Ruby Sharp
  • Chris Smith
  • Richard Turner
  • Katrina Williams

  • Lorne Clark
  • Mike Barker
  • Guy Peskett
  • Martyn Bennett
  • John Thompson
  • Anthony Constable
  • Jeff Borinsky
  • Brian Hawes
  • Bob Owen

  • Ben Breen
  • David Horwood
  • Norin Khanna
  • David Martin
  • Simon Brown
  • Ken Kacal
  • Ruksana Khanum
  • Kirsty Palmer
  • Leo Horne
  • Inderpal Kallah
  • Noel McCarthy

Information Age was made possible by:

Heritage Lottery Fund

LEAD PRINCIPAL SPONSOR:

BT

Principal sponsor

Principal funders

ARM Bloomberg Google

Major funders

The Garfield Weston Foundation
The Wolfson Foundation
Parasol Foundation Trust
Motorola Solutions Foundation

Connect Circle sponsor

Accenture

With additional support from

The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Cambridge Wireless (CW)
Qualcomm Foundation
The David and Claudia Harding Foundation

With thanks to

The BBC