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This project is testing the use of 3D models and prints of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection to provide a tactile experience for visitors. Research will be completed on the impact of these interactive displays on the visitor perception and reaction to the Museum’s ‘Do Not Touch’ policy from August 2018 until July 2019. Internal funding from the Knowledge Transfer Facilitors pump priming scheme is supporting this project. 

Project team

Prinicipal Investigators: Jo Vine (Research Facilitator), Dan Pett (Head of Digital and IT) and Helena Rodwell (Assistant Conservator, Collections Care)

Various departments of the Museum, including Learning and Collections, are key contributors to this project.


Anticipated outputs and outcomes

  • New relationships with sector-leading experts from industry, conservation policy, museums, galleries, archives, education, academia to scope the challenge of how to provide a tactile experience for visitors that does not damage the collections. These collaborations will be developed during 2019 and two workshops will provide opportunities for debate and interaction across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries. 
  • Evidence-based report for heritage organisations on if/how 3D models can lessen the risk of damage to collections and how audiences respond to new engagement methods, linked to existing work where 3D models and material samples are used as a tactile interface to museum collections for visitor enjoyment and education.
  • 3D models that can continue to be used as a handling collection, providing new opportunities for deeper learning and engagement and better understanding of audience needs.
  • Researchers across University and University of Cambridge Museums develop - and use - new skills in 3D making.