#MandHShow - It's hacking, Jim, but not as we know it

May 18, 2017

What would you do if the Science Museum and its data were your creative playground for 2 days?
That is the question we are asking 70 delegates on February 21 & 22 for the first in a series of Hackathons from the Science Museum’s Digital Lab and it’s founding partner Samsung.

https://lab.sciencemuseum.org.uk/lets-hack-the-science-museum-together-smhack-86aaf802ab99

The phrase hacking – especially at the moment – doesn’t usually conjure up thoughts of innovation and cultural progression. But, as my first talk at Museum and Heritage Show day 2 proved, with a bit of creative thinking, it can be of huge benefit. 

Full disclosure, hacking here isn’t meant in the shadowy criminal sense, but in the rapid-prototyping sense; taking new people, new techniques, and new ideas, and just letting them play with the tools available until something amazing happens. 

In this case, the tools available were the Science Museum’s digital API collections. Participants in the hackathon came up with a whole range of new ideas: everything from chat bots and museum eggs, to waterfalls of endeavour and gamified timelines. 

What I really loved about the whole process, though, was that everything was made open-source: all the data, all the processes, and each idea that came out of the 2-day event are available for all to share, iterate, and make their own. In a sphere were such a level of freedom is a rarity, I think this should be massively applauded. 

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