GLAMi nomination: Explore

nominated by: Rob Cawston, National Museums Scotland, UK
institution: National Museums Scotland
category: Exhibition and Collection Extension

The Explore section of the National Museums Scotland website ( aims to provide visitors with an “online equivalent of a visit to one of our four museums” by bringing together our expanding catalogue of online content.

Redesigned from top to bottom in 2016 with Edinburgh-based digital agency, Lewis, Explore provides audiences with different experiences of our collections through long-form “stories”, online games, films and educational resources. Explore also includes access to the Museums’ searchable database of objects, providing immediate access to over 450,000 records (

The key aims of the redevelopment project, backed by an audience research project run in collaboration with Culture 24, were to:

  • tell stories about our collections rather than simply provide information;
  • increase the reach of the National Museums Scotland brand to new audiences;
  • provide all users with easy entry points to our collections – from researchers to school children; and
  • provide a better platform for re-purposing content from galleries and exhibitions, to make the most of this investment of time and budget.

Explore is, in essence, a storytelling platform. Its main interface uses simple filters to access material in a variety of ways through intuitive labeling and adopting human-friendly tags to avoid any confusion with museum terminology. New long-form templates enable experimentation with layout, divide content into chapters and embed an array of media to create an experience that displays elegantly on all devices. The collections database offers easy access via search filters,  super clear presentation of object information and hi-resolution imagery, as well as incorporating new features like 360 degree “spin” photography.