Year/Course: 2022-2023, Easter 2023

Inventor: Dr. Christopher Burgess, Head of Exhibitions and Public Programmes, Cambridge University Library
Mentor: Bob Pettigrew

Although many museums have invested significantly in digitising their collections, so far they have not managed to create compelling online exhibitions which people choose to visit in their leisure time. This was demonstrated during the COVID lockdowns when the use of museum websites fell dramatically.

Frustrated with this state of affairs, Dr. Burgess designed his own platform, Snicket, and a first trial version is currently under development, which will use the Rising Tide – Women at Cambridge exhibition as its basis.

Snicket is designed to let visitors find their own way through curated exhibitions, mimicking the way that people interact with physical exhibitions, and recommending other objects that would interest them based on what they have already looked at.

For curators, Snicket is easy to use and set up, and an online exhibition can be designed from any computer or smartphone.

There are over 55,000 museums worldwide, ranging from the large and well-known to many small, local collections. In addition, many companies hold substantial private collections of their own historic objects or purchased art, which could also be shared online in this way.

The i-Teams role will be to discuss Snicket with a wide range of museums and curated collections to identify the most compelling features of the initial version and help the inventor take Snicket to the next stage. Of particular interest is how the platform can be made available to the large number of smaller museums and galleries which typically run on very low budgets.