Hampshire Cultural Trust 'gamifies' collections auditing - Museums Association

Hampshire Cultural Trust ‘gamifies’ collections auditing

Competitive element enables volunteers win prizes for data inventory
The young Data Hunters and Story Gatherers assess their objects in teams
The young Data Hunters and Story Gatherers assess their objects in teams Hampshire Cultural Trust

Hampshire Cultural Trust has developed new project teams of young volunteers for its Data Hunters and Story Gatherers: Towards Community Curatorship project.

The aim of the project, which began in 2023 and is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, is to assess the most effective approach to auditing museum collection objects and develop the trust’s approach to volunteer recruitment.

The project’s volunteers are divided into two distinct roles – Data Hunters, and Story Gatherers. These roles are designed to help young adults develop skills, increase knowledge and expand opportunities in the museum sector.

Data Hunter volunteers, organised into teams, earn points for each successfully audited object; these points then translate into prizes. The game aims to motivate participants to inventory and audit museum collections by adding an element of competition between the teams.

Story Gatherers are researching diverse stories relating to objects in the collections. The stories will then be shared in two exhibitions co-curated with communities in Hampshire.

The work that the young volunteers are doing should improve collections auditing and research, research significant, untold stories, and develop community co-curation and engagement in new ways.


This project adds to the trust's roster of innovative schemes, following the opening of 878AD, a gamified museum experience about the Anglo Saxons, in Winchester town centre in 2022.

"Through these two exhibitions, we will trial and develop a framework for future co-curation projects," said project manager Sam Butcher.

"Our Community Collective group are invited to challenge established narratives, disrupt normal ways of doing things and shape the voice, content and approach of exhibitions in a way that suits their interests, experience, opinions and values."

To date, 33 volunteers have participated in the project; more than 1,983 objects have been inventoried; 1,177 object locations updated; 216 new records created; and 89 objects have been added to the trust’s online collections, which is available free of charge for all to access.

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