Scarborough Atlas (Design the Green transition with Scarborough Museum and Art Gallery – Knowledge Transfer Partnership)
Benjamin Kyneswood – Principal Investigator
Yasmin Stefanov-King – Research Fellow
Nick Henry - Co-Investigator
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Total value of project
Coventry University (lead)
Scarborough Museum Trust (Project partner)
Duration of project
14/02/23 → 30/09/23
Scarborough Atlas (SA) is an online mapping platform which links digital twins of artefacts at Scarborough Museum & Galleries (SMG) to trails and stories that originate in the town and across the Jurassic coastline. The aim is to extend the museum beyond its walls and connect it better with local interest groups and encourage the public to get out and walking to discover Scarborough heritage on its streets.
The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and based on the success of Coventry Atlas, a project which showcases maps, building plans, streets, and photos of places and people, enabling visitors to explore Coventry’s history.
There will be six Scarborough trails to begin with, curated by community researchers in collaboration with SMG staff. The trails will be augmented by map overlays, to show the street patterns of the past alongside historic assets. SMG staff will also make the platform available to local business to advertise, enabling users to see how the past and present sit together whilst bringing in new income to the gallery.
- Creation of themed digital trails that will take visitors on a tour of the town, brought to life by recordings, museum artefacts, photographs and anecdotes from Scarborough’s collections and population
- Support volunteers to become ‘citizen researchers’, capable of conducting research, and building and launching the historical trails for the public to follow
- Development of a commercial model to advertise local business to offset platform costs
Local history is often overlooked, locked away in museum archives, making it difficult for people to evidence their past. Whilst physical visits to museums and galleries matter, historic assets used in the digital space give people opportunities to evidence the stories that bind their local area. By encouraging museums to digitise and share more (less than 4% of UK museum holdings are on physical show) in return they learn more about what their users want. Connecting museums meaningfully to interest groups improves their offer and makes them more sustainable.
Making digital spaces exciting, relevant and accessible is difficult. Mapping systems allow the user visual control over what they view and how. The platform is accessed in schools, the tourism sector, the local community sector and, through advertising, local businesses. Connecting heritage with contemporary culture dissolves barriers giving users a ‘fuller’ local history experience, whilst generating revenue.
The project has led to new funding applications to support staff CPD and has led to opportunities for the CEO to present to local industry and council boards as part of local tourism, business and education policy. The PI presented the project at an AHRC conference.
Online digital resource
AHRC/ Panel Conference