Spotlight on museums and galleries

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    Getting to grips with digital can be a daunting prospect for many in the museum sector – finding the know-how, time, money and other resources needed to stay relevant and connected with your audiences can feel like a constant struggle.

    Surface Impression is here to help! Our digital agency exists to help galleries, museums and other cultural sector organizations to make the most of digital. For over 20 years, we’ve been working with gallery and museum professionals to devise effective strategies, build award-winning websites and to engage audiences through a wide range of creative digital initiatives. 

    How we can help

    Websites

    Surface Impression specialises in making attractive, accessible, relevant websites for museums and the heritage sector, along with other cultural, charitable and public sector organizations.

    Our websites are built with the future in mind, and can be updated or given major
    makeovers as time passes, at considerably less cost than a whole new website.

    In the ever-changing digital world, a new website will:

    • Keep your museum relevant
    • Appeal to new and existing audiences
    • Optimize accessibility
    • Look good, and function perfectly, on phones, tablets, and computers
    • Support the ecommerce needs of your shop, events and exhibitions

    Equally importantly, a new website will be built for ease of management by museum staff, and we provide the training needed so that they will be confident with editing existing content or adding new material.

    We design your website to suit your needs – your new website can include some of the other elements showcased on this page, such as digital maps, online exhibitions and more.

    Example projects

    Strategy and consultancy

    In our 20+ years of operation, we have accumulated a wealth of skills and experience through working on hundreds of digital media projects for a wide variety of cultural heritage organizations. As a result, Surface Impression has developed a comprehensive consultancy service that has helped museums and galleries to approach digital in a way that maximizes impact and builds in sustainability.

    Our services include:

    • Drawing up and embedding a new digital strategy
    • Developing skills and digital literacy
    • Research and development (R&D) for new ideas or products
    • Audience analysis
    • Reporting and advocacy to stakeholders

    Mobile tours and trails

    A whole world of possibilities is opened up by adding cell phone tours and trails to your museum’s digital provision. Extend the boundaries of your museum to your whole city, or somewhere else entirely – or help people navigate your interior spaces and explore the exhibits more deeply. Using both the mobile web and “native” apps, trails and tours are optimised to download quickly and use minimal data, or work offline where live data usage might be an issue.

    Your audiences can:

    • Follow trails and navigate to points of interest
    • See 3D objects in their original settings
    • View objects, photographs and artworks in context 
    • Explore places of historical significance outside your museum
    • Overlay buildings and architectural features with historic photos
    Example projects

    Online collections

    Before COVID, it was becoming increasingly apparent that online collections were a valuable resource for users ranging from academic and specialist researchers to history enthusiasts; from school and university students to people with a family or local connection. The pandemic served only to emphasise the value of increasing access to collections via digital channels.

    Surface Impression works with many museums to present their collections online. We help them to create:

    • Public-facing collections databases integrated with existing collections management systems
    • Bespoke collections displays for events, exhibitions or specialist collections
    • Fully integrated websites where collections records can be embedded into any type of content
    • Advanced search interfaces as well as user-focused design
    • Browsable subject, place or person-based indexes
    Example projects

    In-gallery interactives

    Digital interactives have a wide appeal to audiences, and help to increase engagement and dwell time within exhibits.

    Enhance the visit with:

    • Games and quizzes
    • Access to further layers of interpretation, content and representation of objects
    • 3D digital objects – allowing rotation and zooming into items
    • “Beyond the screen” activities using audio, projection and other creative ideas for “heads up” interaction

    These digital interactives are housed in a range of formats, including bespoke kiosks in modern materials for contemporary spaces, or beautifully crafted in wood for traditional museum settings.

    Example projects

    Our clients

    We work for museums and galleries of all shapes and sizes, from many parts of the world, here is a selection:

    The National Gallery of Ireland

    The British Museum

    Canadian Museum of Nature

    Art Gallery of Burlington 

    Portsmouth Museums

    South West Heritage Trust

    Royal Scottish Academy

    Scottish Fisheries Museum

    Canadian Theatre Museum

    Royal Collections Trust

    Daventry Museum

    Southampton Museums

    Art Gallery of Sudbury 

    Sedgwick Museum

    Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

    We’ve also worked with many more museums and galleries through our skills development and sector support programmes, including:

    Musée National de Beaux Arts, Québec • V&A Museum • Chinese Museums Association, Taipei • Ojibwe Cultural Foundation • Ottawa Art Gallery • Oxford University Museums • National Galleries of Scotland

    Do you need funding too?

    If you’re keen to transform your institution’s use of digital but you don’t know how to pay for it, talk to us! We have helped cultural sector organizations to raise millions of dollars / pounds from a variety of funding bodies. Although it takes longer to get a project off the ground this way, the results are often more effective and longer lasting.

    Contact us

    If you want to discuss a potential project

    If you would like to explore your digital direction / strategies

    If you are looking for help raising funding or securing grants

    Or for any other reason!

    United Kingdom / Europe

    Sally Moorhouse
    +44 (0) 7769 178 396
    [email protected]

    Canada / USA

    Dr. Amy Hetherington
    1 289 707 3316
    amyheth[email protected]