QRator and the Grant Museum of Zoology

By Jack Ashby

Grant Museum of Zoology, University College London

QRator is a ground-breaking programme that allows visitors to generate answers to – and share conversations about – questions about the role of science in society and the way that museums operate. It was developed in partnership with the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and won the 2012 Museums and Heritage Award for Excellence in Innovation.

QRator is an iPad-based tool asking visitors to respond to questions posed by zoological displays in the Grant Museum. It breaks the traditional model of interpretation for natural history museums, and democratises visitor engagement practices. The project is risky – using the museum visitors as potentially unwitting guinea pigs, allowing content to go live post-moderated, and functions both as an engagement programme and as an active research project.

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