Danny Birchall, Digital Content Manager, Wellcome Collection

The Wellcome Collection is a free museums and library that combines science, medicine, life, and art.  Danny Birchall is the Digital Content Manager.  He is responsible for games, social media, and web presence of the institution.

Having a strong interest in digital interactive experiences, especially in a web setting, it was a special treat for me to be able to interview Mr. Birchall.  We discussed how video and flash games can help educate and entertain potential museum visitors.  Creating quality standalone games based on moments in history can be a complicated process.  This is something we’ve seen recently with Suffragettes in Red Dead Redemption 2 that was recently released.

We also discussed the role of social media for institutions today.  Twitter, for example, allows for museums to interact with their visitors/fans in real time.  Institutions can react and comment on topics that are in the news and are having a direct impact on their own local communities.  Through this unprecedented access to their audiences museums can extend their reach and become much more that brick and mortar buildings.  Whether this is done in a lighthearted tone by two museums competing during major sports events or in a somber attitude about social injustice, museums have the responsibility and opportunity to make their presence and voices heard.

Something that I like to ask people when I conduct interviews for the Museum Studies Program is what they wish they knew when they started their careers in the museum field.  Mr. Birchall stressed the importance of not having to stick to the role that you are given.  I think that people tend to get comfortable and complacent with their roles even if it is not something that they are passionate about.  It is nice to have confirmation that it is possible to create a job that you love in a field that you love.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. wendytribaldos says:

    I really enjoyed this interview. I believe that if museums are going to develop a game, they should outsource it to agencies that have experience in the commercial market, because they are better positioned to create high quality experiences that cater to users needs. I loved his caveat of doing games that are not “flashily immersive but rather more persuasive in nature”. I must admit that I am no fan of museum games in general, specially now that the more expensive mobile market has complicated the panorama as Danny explained.

    Perhaps the best part of the interview for me was at the very end, when Danny gave two wonderful pieces of advice: that a good digital project must allow the unplanned to happen, and that you should never stick to the role you are originally given.

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