Citizen Curation; Opening the Digital Door on Museum Archives

Citizen Curation; Opening the Digital Door on Museum Archives

New Interactive Museum Celebrates the Diversity of Experiences and Voices by Empowering the Community to Add Their Memories and Stories to Museum Displays

Pass It Down, a company with an award-winning story-telling platform, is partnering with Engine On and the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society to revolutionize how museums archive and share local and national history.

After centuries of museums choosing which stories to tell, it is time for people to add their own history. On October 7 [th] , 2018, the Pass It Down platform will play an integral role in a new, interactive museum. This technology will provide Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society with the necessary tools to take an innovative step in the process of recording their community’s collective history.

“The idea that your audience can contribute value to the narrative is critical to the future of museums,” says Carol Summerfield, Co-Founder of Engine On. “It adds breadth, it adds depth, it adds new voices; voices that might have been missing in previous iterations of museum content.”

Through videos, audio, written content, and photographs, participants are able to share their own unique story. Each narrative is added by members and visitors directly into the platform and becomes part of the museum’s archives. This opens the door, and the archive, to more diverse life stories that can be shared with the public. The Pass It Down platform is the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff community’s virtual storybook.

“We’re not just saving pieces of paper, we’re saving people’s lives; what they did, that they existed,” explains Janice Hack, Executive Director at Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society. Hack experienced the value of this project on a personal level while at their recent open house demonstrating the interactive exhibit. At the event, Hack explained an elderly woman approached her and confessed, “I just want to be remembered.”

In addition to archiving vignettes from people’s lives, this platform empowers museums to stay relevant in an era driven by technology. “There has been an awakening in the museum world around the idea that an encyclopedic approach to the subject a museum covers is not engaging an audience, especially now with Google at their fingertips,” Summerfield states. “Inspiring the next generation to keep their history alive is critical to museums.”

With trends in genealogy capturing public interest in our country today, this project uniquely combines people’s fascination in their heritage with innovative technology. “We want to bring people together using technology, where technology generally pushes people apart,” says Chris Cummings, Founder and CEO of Pass It Down. “The history of our place helps define what the culture is, and what makes those places special.”


About Engine OnEngine On brings authentic, meaningful engagement to the public on behalf of their clients, who work to make the world a better place; supporting cause-based organizations in improving their audience connection, membership growth, and sustainable engagement. www.engineon.org

About Pass It DownPass It Down is a storytelling company revolutionizing how organizations collect, preserve, and share their stories with our award-winning storytelling platform. Pass It Down was just selected as one of the 100 most innovative startups in the world, and is a semi-finalist for Global Startup of the Year contest by the Consumer Technology Association. www.passitdown.com

About Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical SocietyThe Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society connects people and inspires curiosity by exhibiting, collecting, sharing, and celebrating history. We have been home to the stories of our community for more than 45 years. www.lflbhistory.org/home