Digital research case studies

How can we use research to enhance digital interaction with the Museum and connect with new audiences now and in the future?

Enhancing digital interaction with the Museum is a key objective for AC-NMW. The website is the Museum’s ‘eighth public site’, and the digital experience is one of five priorities that guide the Museum’s work. The Digital Content Strategy 2014-17 is increasing digital content output, providing collections information in an open and accessible way, increasing digital participation and online communities and enhancing user-centric approaches to design and technology.

The Digital Media team is at the forefront of research across the global museum sector into how to enable better and wider digital experiences. Current and recent projects with Cardiff and Leicester Universities are exploring innovative ways of harnessing digital resources to enhance visitor experiences. Another research strand is on digital teams, investigating the effects of organisational structures on digital literacy.

The Museum also has around 200,000 fans and followers on its Facebook and Twitter profiles, constituting a valuable resource for ethical research into how people interact with offline and online content.

Highlighted projects:

Olion Traces

In 2016, the team worked with Dr Jenny Kidd of Cardiff University School of Journalism, to develop and test a digital app for visitors to St Fagans National Museum of History. This enhances the visitor experience by providing additional rich historical interpretation to make the site come alive in new and exciting ways. The Traces project is a partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Cardiff University and yellobrick, a creative marketing agency that builds engaging and participatory experiences for brands and organizations.

Project link:

Structuring for digital success

How are galleries, libraries, archives and museums reconfiguring their digital teams to define and drive success?

What are the changing structures and relationships that digital teams have with colleagues, and what does this mean or digital responsibility in the organisation?

Interviews were conducted with 56 organisations worldwide and found that the majority are still using a centralised model, preventing digital literacy from spreading across the organisation. What’s needed for change is significant investment in digital skills (esp. in data analysis and technical leadership), and setting—and measuring—realistic objectives for digital success. 

One by One research project

Led by Leicester University and other partners, One by One’s starting point is that despite fifty years of computer-enabled transformation in the ways museums work, the sector as a whole still lacks digital confidence. The prevailing assumption is that the digital relates to specific technical competencies that only a few IT professionals can master.

One by One will shift from a mindset of ‘technical skills’ to a wider concern with ‘digital literacies’, grown from below, out of the needs of individuals.  This will involve cultivating digital literacies within everyone’s roles within the institution, rather than within a small specialist group such as IT teams.

One by One aims to help UK museums to better define, improve, measure and embed the digital literacy of their staff and volunteers in all roles and levels. The project will design and test a practical, sustainable and flexible digital literacy framework for museums that will define ‘digital literacy’, evidence its effectiveness, and grow collective responsibility and ownership for it.