Give a Museum Experience to Someone You Love

The AHRC-funded ‘Shaping the Connected Museum’ project, is exploring how to connect museums, their exhibits and visitors between China and the UK. The project is a collaboration between Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tate Modern, Factory42, The University of Nottingham, The University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus, and The University of Exeter. Collectively, we are exploring how both exhibits and visitors can project their presence across remote sites to enable cross-cultural visiting experiences.

Just one example of our approach is Gift [1], a webapp that enables visitors to create personalised museum tours as gifts for one another. They think of a friend, choose objects from the museum, take photos of these objects and record personal messages which are all wrapped up into a digital gift that can be experienced at home or in the museum itself. Gift has already been deployed and studied in museums across Europe [2], but how might it translate into a cross-cultural context between the UK and China, in terms of language, gifting culture and the kinds of stories told by visitors?

We are also exploring other approaches to connecting museums between the China and the UK. This will involve a unique ideation process using the Visitor Box, a deck of ideation cards that support the design of digital museum experiences [3]. Visitor Box was initially developed via a previous AHRC grant and subsequently used by museums throughout the UK and beyond. In the Shaping the Connected Museum project, we are exploring how Visitor Box can be adapted to support UK-China museum experiences, including extending the deck with new cross-cultural design cards. We are also developing a digital tabletop gaming version of the cards to support online ideation sessions between remote partner while physical travel remains a problem.

Explore the Gift app at

Project contact

Steve Benford


Delegates own mobile phones


Team name
Steve Benford
Jocelyn Spence
Nick Tandavanitj/Matt Adams


Partner name
The Mixed reality Lab at The University of Nottingham
Blast Theory

Supported by

Event partners

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