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The GIFT project

GIFT was a European project funded under the Horizon2020 research and innovation programme that brought together museum professionals,  world-renowned artists, designers, and researchers to help museums create hybrid experiences: experiences that combine the physical and digital to create personal encounters with cultural heritage. 

Posted on Friday January 24, 2020

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

1 January 2017 to 31 December 2019
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The team behind the three-year project achieved their goal of helping cultural heritage institutions with their digital transformation through supporting them in the challenges involved in using new technology. For this, the project developed several tools and methods of working to help museums enhance the visitor experience in their online platforms and physical spaces.

 GIFT app test at Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton - Charlie Johnson, 2018, England, CC-BY-SA

The GIFT Box

The GIFT Box is a set of free, open-source tools that provides resources to help museums and other cultural heritage institutions design, plan and implement enhanced visitor experiences. These resources will all be available online and supported until December 2021

What’s in the GIFT Box?

Design and planning tools

These tools help CHIs to generate, strengthen and test new ideas for digital experiences. They have been developed with and for museums as a way to help prioritise ideation in early phases of design work. 

  1. VisitorBox Ideation Cards is a printable card game that helps generate new ideas for digital experiences. 

  2. ASAP Map encourages CHIs to develop a shared understanding of their ideas. 

  3. Experiment Planner helps CHIs to plan ways to test their idea and map out a clear plan to implement it.

  4.  Cardographer is a digital platform that enables CHIs to capture your physical card-based design ideas and analyse trends, issues and opportunities.

  5.  Scenarios allows CHIs to use role-playing to generate a common understanding of a particular theoretical concept related to their design idea.

 GIFT app test at Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton - Charlie Johnson, 2018, England, CC-BY-SA

Digital tools 

These tools are open-source resources which have been designed in partnership with leading museums to give other cultural institutions the inspiration to create more personal experiences with their collection, combining the digital and physical.

  1. Gift App allows visitors to use their smartphone to create a digital gift for someone they care about.

  2. Artcodes are customisable and scannable markers that let CHIs blend their physical exhibition with digital content.

  3. Never Let Me Go allows two visitors to co-create and co-curate each others’ encounter with their collection. 

  4. One Minute uses image recognition to offer visitors a short story that encourages them to reflect on and engage with the CHIs content.

  5. Gift Wrapper is an app which visitors can download to make a museum gift more personal by adding a link to digital content such as music, photos or videos. 

  6. ScannerBox enables CHIs to create interactive 3D models of objects in your collection or contributed by visitors. 

  7. Emotion Mapper allows CHIs to gather input about visitors’ emotions and visualise their responses. 

  8. VRtefacts puts visitors into a Virtual Reality experience where they explore and touch 3D models of museum objects and share stories about them. 

  9. Gift Viz is a workflow that helps visitors visualise the data captured from gifting experiences.

 GIFT app test at Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton - Charlie Johnson, 2018, England, CC-BY-SA

Ways of working

Working with 10 prominent museums from Europe and the US, the GIFT team have developed a number of practical recommendations to help you with experience design and organisational change to help you improve your work practices to excel digitally.

Find out more about GIFT

You can read more about the project, download the tools or get in touch at Europeana ran a series of articles about the project and the people behind it. You can read these on Europeana Pro News.

The GIFT conference was part of Europeana Anual Event 2019. You can watch the conference on our Youtube channel.

 GIFT app test at Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton - Charlie Johnson, 2018, England, CC-BY-SA