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Improving Museums’ Storytelling Through Digital Narratives

Offering new pathways to discover cultural heritage


Update February 2015

Thanks to everybody who took part in the final project workshop 'Amplify your message; storytelling for success.' It was great to see the examples of practice that the project museums have developed through the project.

Here's Jane Austen House Museum's summary of what's been achieved there - enjoy!

Download JAHM_Presentation_20150112.pdf...

The project museums are now progressing their investments. Each museum has been offered up to £600 to develop  ideas or activities directly related to the Digital Narratives project, having worked up their proposals with Abhay to ensure the best fit to the museum's journey during the project. You'll be seeing lots of new Digital Narratives activity from the project museums, from 3-D printing to videos to focused Twitter promotions.

Update December 2014

Places for  Digital Narratives phase 4 workshop: Amplify your message; storytelling for success strategy' on Monday 12 January 2015 are booking quickly - don't miss out, full information and booking are on the Training calendar

Update August 2014

Places for Digital Narratives workshop 3: 'How to build a social media campaign strategy' on Monday 8 September 2014 are booking quickly - don't miss out, full information and booking are on the Training calendar

Read a fantastic blog post by Dominic Ivaldi and Angela Willis of the National Motor Museum: A Story Told In 400 Images.

Update July 2014

You can now register for a place on the third and fourth workshops.

And here's just one example of how the project is making a difference. Laura Bullivant came to the first Digital Narratives workshop, facilitated by lead consultant Abhay Adhikari in April at Fort Nelson. Her experience got her motivated and confident to use Twitter for museum storytelling. She's shared her learning via a blogpost. Read Laura's Digital Narratives blogpost: 'Building my digital identity: My first 100 followers on Twitter'

Update June 2014

All of the project museums have now had their first support visits from Abhay. Each has now defined the focus of its digital narratives project planned first steps. The project museums and others came together on 9 June for the second project workshop which focused on running storytelling campaigns on social media.

Update May 2014

We had a great start to the Digital Narratives project, with a well attended first workshop on 7 April that got great feedback: 'Very useful and inspiring' said one attendee.

We have since assessed the Expressions of Interest and are pleased to announce that the following museums will be benefitting from the intensive one-to-one support package:

  • Jane Austen's House Museum
  • Mary Rose Museum
  • National Motor Museum
  • Portsmouth Museums & Visitor Services
  • Hampshire Arts and Museums

The project was oversubscribed and all applications very compelling, we'd have loved to have all of you on board.

The dates of the open workshops have now been confirmed - all museums are welcome to attend these, whether or not they are on the intensive project:

The next one, Building capacity to run storytelling campaigns on social media takes place in Winchester on Monday 9 June. Do book your place now.

Forward dates for your diary: Workshop 3 on Monday 8 September 2014 and Workshop 4 on Monday 12 January 2015. Full details and booking arrangements will be announced via this newsletter.

About the project

Improving Museums’ Storytelling Through Digital Narratives will enable museums to use creative storytelling techniques as a method for engaging new audiences and encouraging participation in online and offline events. The project will provide intensive support to 5 museums across the Hampshire and Solent area over a period of one year as well as providing four workshops that other Hampshire Solent museums can also take part in.

The project will start in spring 2014 and finish in spring 2015. There is only one entry point to the programme, which is an introductory workshop on 7 April 2014: 'What is your digital identity?'. We encourage you to participate in the session, and enrol in the one-year programme to receive further support on using digital and social media with clarity, confidence to create meaningful impact.

How will the project be delivered?

The project will be delivered through four phases that include a focus on:

1. Discovery and skills: Every museum is unique. In this phase we will prepare ourselves to identify and share the stories that matter. We will also explore different techniques that highlight both the people and collections in your museum in the right context.

2. Storytelling campaigns: Once we have identified the stories we want to share, we will learn how to develop content for different social media channels to bring these stories to life. In this phase we are taking a step towards using social media with clarity and confidence.

3. Building participation: Social media brings stories to life because we can build unique communities online. Every community is a rich resource of discovery, anecdotes and conversations. In this phase will start using social media to find new audiences and explore ways of engaging them in virtual or physical events.

4. Building sustainability: Throughout the year we will explore different ideas and conduct little experiments to come up with solutions that allow us to use social media on our own terms. In this phase we will identify what worked and what didn’t. This information will be used to create learning resources that you can use to continue sharing your stories online.

The lead consultant for the project is Abhay Adhikari (@gopaldass on Twitter). We will be announcing additional workshop facilitators shortly.

Your commitment:

The programme is designed to cater for different learning styles and organisational needs – it is not a one size fits all approach. Each phase will have a strong training focus followed by one-to-one support that will allow you to introduce new learning within your museum or solve problems that are unique to your organisation.

Each organisation will need to commit approximately 8-10 days across the year to the project. 4 of these days will be dedicated to group workshops which will include members from all participating museums as well as from museums across the region.

What are the benefits to your organisation?

This is unique opportunity to take part in a project that will allow you to develop an approach to using social media with clarity, confidence and on your own terms. It will equip you with skills to make the best of a medium that is constantly changing and evolving. Rather than using social media just because, we will develop a bespoke plan of action that is unique to your museums’ needs and matched to the available resources.

The project will:

1. Help you develop a unique Digital Identity for your museum

2. Give you an opportunity to showcase people and collections

3. Enable you to explore storytelling techniques using social media

4. Help you increase confidence to talk to audiences online

5. Support you to develop a long-term communication plan

The project will not:

1. Expect you to do more than is appropriate for your type of organisation

2. Give you a member of staff to run social media channels

3. Ask you to give up considerable amounts of time to run social media channels

Which organisations are eligible to apply?

To take part museums must be:

  • Fully or provisionally Accredited.
  • Located in Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton or the Isle of Wight.

The following museums are not eligible to take part in the full project, but may apply to attend the associated workshops:

  • National museums
  • Non-Accredited organisations

Who should be involved from our organisation?

This project is suitable for anyone from your organisation is either involved or interested in using social and digital media. This includes curators, librarians and marketing and communications staff.

What will be expected from participating organisations?

Applicants are required to:

1. Evidence the organisation’s support for participation in this programme and the ability to respond to the advice and support you will receive as a result of this project.

2. Demonstrate a strong desire to build a unique digital footprint for your organisation using social and digital, and the willingness to explore new ideas and share results with others.

3. Allocate appropriate resources and capacity to the project, and fully commit between 6 -8 working days at intervals throughout the year.

4. Participate in the evaluation of the programme through case studies, conferences, surveys and writing content for the project blog.

5. Provide a named lead individual who will be the main contact through the duration of the project. However, you can nominate different individuals to participate in the workshops.

6. Sign an agreement form to confirm that the organisation will participate in the full programme of training consultancy and network support.

Would you like to know more and take part?

Step 1: Download the information pack which is available below - it includes: The Information Sheet, the Expression of Interest Form and 7 April workshop information.

Step 2: Signup up for the ‘What is your Digital Identity?’ workshop on April 7. Coming to the workshop does not commit you to take part in the full project but is an essential prerequisite.

Step 3: Make sure that you (and any other key decision makers) have digested the details give in the information sheet and completed a draft of the Expression of Interest form in advance of the workshop.

Step 4: Come to the workshop. Learn, explore and enjoy making connections.

Step 5: After the workshop you will have 12 noon on Friday 11 April to submit your Expression of Interest (EoI) form if you want to embark on the one year journey with all its benefits. EoIs will be reviewed by the project consultants and museum development team and a response given within 7 days. Return your EoI form to Lucy Marder at

The lead consultant for the project is Abhay Adhikari (@gopaldass on Twitter). We will be announcing additional workshop facilitators shortly.