The Hunterian’s Digital Trail is still going strong!

A digital trail was designed to accompany the exhibition The Kangaroo and The Moose at The Hunterian Art Gallery. The exhibition at Glasgow contextualised the Kangaroo painting in relation to the collections of William Hunter, the founder of The Hunterian, a pioneering obstetrician and passionate collector of the eighteenth century who commissioned George Stubss to paint other New World animals, like the Moose.

The trail aimed to link the main themes of the exhibition at Glasgow, exploration, art and science, with objects in the Hunterian collections, displayed at both the Hunterian Museum and the Hunterian Art Gallery. The two venues are both on the University of Glasgow campus but in separate buildings separated by a busy street, so in this case the digital trail was trying to reconnect what was physically separated but to also build intellectual links with other items in the collection.

Fitting for a university museum like The Hunterian, student involvement played an important role both in the exhibition and the design of the trail. The digital trail was designed by Carolyn Alexander, an artist and illustrator who had just graduated from the MSc in Museum Studies at the University of Glasgow at the time, under the direction of Dr Maria Economou (Joint Curator/Lecture in Museum Studies at The Hunterian and HATII, School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow). A team of student volunteers helped with the research for the objects for the trail, under the guidance of Ruth Fletcher (Student Engagement Officer at The Hunterian). Anne Dulau (Art Curator) and Maggie Reilly (Zoology Curator) who curated the exhibition, and Monica Callaghan (Head of Education) advised also on the content of the digital trail and its integration in the exhibition. QR codes with a kangaroo logo next to the objects on display included in the trail linked visitors to the digital trail and linked back to the exhibition themes.

The digital trail was hosted on the web and was available to access to visitors to the exhibition on their personal devices as well as via two iPads that were used by the student volunteers engaging with the visitors. It was also available to online visitors and, according to the analysis of the web logs, was visited by over 1000 unique users by February 2017. It is good to see that the digital trail continues to be visited online long after the exhibition in Glasgow closed in February 2016! Check it out for yourself!