Science capital research highlights that not everyone will access our learning opportunities equally. Visitors come to our museums with different levels of confidence, experiences, knowledge and skills to engage with the museum galleries and for many, a museum visit experience can feel overwhelming and disorienting.
Designed in response to this problem, our Great Object Hunt paper-based resource was developed to open up our galleries to visitors and provide a fun, engaging experience which helps them make a personal connection with our objects and with science. The resource is framed by the museum’s learning philosophy and promotes our ethos of ‘igniting curiosity’ both in our museum and beyond.
Following on from the success of the paper-based resource, our next ambition was to create a digital component which would extend this experience within the format of a mobile app. We know that smartphone ownership is very high amongst family visitors and that families enjoy photographing objects in the collection, and each other. We also know that many children and adults find game-like or competitive scenarios to be a great motivation for engagement. We brought these insights together with the ethos of the Great Object Hunt, and the concept for our new mobile app was born.
Working in partnership with Aardman Interactive, we developed Treasure Hunters, a game which encourages players to explore their surroundings, builds an understanding of how science impacts our everyday lives and encourages discussions within a group about the objects they find and stories they uncover. Treasure Hunters can be played solo or in teams at any of our museums or other location, including at home.
Players compete by responding to challenges posed by the app – questions like, “Can you find something made of wood?”; “Can you find something older than you?”, “Can you find something you might take to a party?” Players take photographs of their chosen objects and can go head to head with other family members – who will find the best, most interesting object?
The challenges are open across the museums and not fixed to one gallery or series of objects. We hope this will encourage players to look beyond the more famous objects, find new things they may not have noticed before and follow their own interests as they seek out what they think is the best answer to challenges.
The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices. We’re excited about this launch as the game gives people a unique new way to explore their surroundings, whether they are in any of the Science Museum Group museums at home, or beyond.