A digital museum of modern nature

Wellcome Collection

Surface Impression designed and developed a digital resource for the Wellcome Collection’s A Museum of Modern Nature exhibition. Members of the public were invited to share photos relating to a given theme (e.g. “wild”, “dead”, “green”) via hashtags on social media or via an online submission process. Following moderation and curatorial selection through a custom control panel, a collection of submissions were then made available online and in-gallery via a large back-projected screen that was integrated into the gallery display. Visitors were encouraged to explore the collection¬†and answer questions to indicate the images that resonate with them.

The aim of the exhibition was to shine a light on how we connect with nature in the 21st century. The Sharing Nature web app allowed members of the public to not only contribute to the collection, but to express opinions about how they relate to the objects.

Technical approach

WordPress was been used as a “back end” for the project, this is the system used generally by the Wellcome Collection. Ingestion of social media postings was achieved by connecting with several APIs simultaneously, items that were selected by the curators were ingested into a custom content type. Pages were loaded dynamically, with users’ votes sent back to the server via XHR. This data was used by Wellcome Collection staff to “score” submissions and judge the most resonant contribution.