Make Your Own Museum in a Box

by George Oates in London, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £20,511

raised so far



Following the success of our Museum in a Box crowdfunder, we are now accepting ongoing donations of support.

by George Oates in London, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 31st August 2018 we'd raised £20,461 with 65 supporters in 35 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Wow! Whee!!! Thank you for helping us reach our first funding goal of £20k. This is AMAZING!

At first, we set our stretch goal at £50k, but that seems a bit crazy, and we want you to feel like any contributions you make now are still really meaningful. Any more contributions we receive from now on basically mean we can move faster, and bring on a couple more pairs of hands to help with our first stages of the pilot: to build all the boxes we need, and to reach out to every pilot participant personally to kick off our user research.

Seriously - this is AMAZING!! 


"This is an amazing project from an incredible team. Having seen a prototype of the MiaB in action, I was blown away by the potential — and to get these into the hands of kids all over the world who might never otherwise interact with so many of these artefacts and objects and ideas and… it's just brilliant. The whole thing is just very exciting." - Anna Pickard said this, as she contributed to our campaign.

We're now working on an investment round for the company, too. So, do please get in touch if you like what you see and want to be an even bigger part of it! Please email me, George, at [email protected] for more information.

During our original crowdfunding campaign, we successfully raised £20,461 thanks to 65 wonderful supporters. We are now continuing to accept donations to keep getting kids access to the cultural resources of the world. Find out more about our original plans below.

At Museum in a Box, we believe that creativity is as important as numeracy and literacy for kids, and that learning about the world's cultures and our histories is one of the best ways to explore your creative side. We've updated the old idea of a museum handling collection, where museums would send out a box of objects for kids in school to think with. Using replica 3D or 2D objects, NFC technology, and a Raspberry Pi-powered Box, we can make the objects come alive and tell a great story, play music, trigger archival audio footage, or replay you a first person account from the creator of the work.  

This is one of our boxes in a school in Washington DC, showing the class treasures from the Smithsonian Libraries.

This is one of our boxes installed in a branch of the V&A called the Lansbury Micro Museum. It's part of an exhibition called "Seeing Red: Posters of Protest and Dissent". The best part is that when the exhibition is closed, the box goes out into the local neighbourhood schools and youth clubs, to ask teenage students about how things might have changed since the posters were made in the 70s.

Every time we show Museum in a Box to a teacher, they inevitably suggest how great it would be if their students could create a Box of their own about whatever they're studying at the time. We love this idea too, and we're keen to see a thousand museums bloom in schools and libraries around the world. 

Making that happen would be amazing, but we can’t do it on our own.  That’s why we’re asking for your help to develop Make Your Own Museum in a Box.

Expanding Our Reach

To date, we have created bespoke Box commissions with some of the world's largest cultural institutions, like the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. We’ll carry on doing that, but also want to find a way to let people on more limited budgets join in.

To do that, we're developing a Make Your Own kit version of the tech we already use at HQ to create a Collection and a Box, so anyone can do it. The kit contains a Box, 10-20 NFC stickers, and access to a software platform where you can configure your objects, stickers and audio responses into your very own Collection. Make Your Own will help kids learn skills like curation, collaboration, critical thinking, writing, audio production, digitisation, information & media literacy, and maybe even 3D printing. We also suspect that some smaller (or not so small) cultural organisations will Make Your Own too, which is brilliant.

Lots of people have joined our Make Your Own Pilot

In June 2018, we put out an open call for people who would like to participate in a co-design pilot, and got an amazing response! We now have a list of 40 different individuals and organisations around the world who are ready for us to send them a kit. Here's a map so you can see where they are:

There are librarians, home schoolers, foundations, museums, and teachers on our list, from Peru, USA, India, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Lebanon, Canada, France, Spain and the UK. Phew!

We already have all of the components needed to make a box - from hardware design to the software platform - but it's not ready for public consumption. This pilot would take us to the next level, allowing anyone to log in and use the tools we've made. We're thinking it'll take us a good six months to do a great job of this, and working with the pilot group will be fantastic to help us keep on track and develop the kit's features in collaboration. 

The more funding we can attract, the better it will be!

What will the money be used for?

This crowdfunding campaign is the first step to help us getting over the hump of being a bootstrapped business into a business with capital. It will allow us to kick off the hardware piece of the pilot, and begin to connect with each pilot group personally.

The Team

  • We're a small but mighty crew at HQ, led by me, George Oates. I'm a designer who's worked on the web for about 20 years, the last 10 of which I've spent focussed on the cultural heritage sector, bringing my commercial software design skills to bear on the digital challenges of clients like the British Museum, MoMA, Wellcome Trust, and the Wikimedia Foundation. 
  • Then there's Adrian McEwen, who's leading the tech design. He's the lead designer and maker of the Box technology and its software. He's also a veteran, specialising in the Internet of Things, and he's also the co-founder of a brilliant makerspace called DoES Liverpool. 
  • Charlie Cattel-Killick is a sustainable product designer, and he works on all sorts of things, but mostly the physical design of the Box, videography, and audio development.

That core crew is supported by all kinds of partners, both individual and organisations, like:

  • software/web heavyweights Phil Gyford and Tom Armitage
  • Whole Education, dynamic partnership of schools and organisations committed to redefining today's educational offering,
  • the Young Foundation, where we spent this summer in their Academy program, strengthening our core business proposition and reaching out into new, education-specific networks
  • ThinkSee3D and Amfori Consulting, who can do the amazing 3D-related heavy lifting we can't do, and
  • ...many more!


This project offered rewards

£20 or more

The Many Thanks

We'd be very happy to send you a thank you postcard, should you feel that this is the reward for you. All the way from London to wherever you are! (We'll need a postal address.)

£50 or more

The Anon

We will happily gush our undying appreciation for your support, and also happily list you on our website as an early supporter of the company. Thank you! + The Many Thanks postcard

£100 or more

The Friend

Yes! Huzzah! £100 covers the cost of the materials to make the base unit, or, the Box. Our target is to make 40 boxes, but we'll make more if we can buy more of the components in a batch! + The Many Thanks postcard + a public note of your support on our website + an extra hello postcard from George from somewhere in the world!

£250 or more

The Patron

You love museums. You want to help other people who might not be able to visit The Greats love them too. Thank you. This reward level will cover the cost of the creation of the kit and the materials we'll need to send out. + The Many Thanks postcard + a public note of your support on our website + extra special Patron collection of postcards curated by the MB team from the pilot

£500 or more

The Sponsor

Have your donation recognised publicly, as a named sponsor of one of the Pilot Boxes! Your name will be included in the delivery of the Box/Kit, and on all digital representations of that Box. We'll also send you a copy of whatever that sponsored person or group creates as a result of your sponsorship. + The Many Thanks postcard + a public note of your support on our website + special updates on the Pilot's progress

£25,000 or more

The Medici

Amazing! You love the idea and our plans so much you'd like to become part of the company. If you go for this reward, we will invite you to become a shareholder in the company. And, we will make you a lifetime member of Museum in a Box, even though we're not quite sure what that will mean just yet! You'll also certainly get a postcard, and be recognised as an important supporter forever and ever and ever!

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