The Exploring 20th century London Project

Jointly funded by the MLA Designation Challenge Fund and the London Museums Hub, Phase I of the Exploring 20th century London project is a partnership project between four museums in London:

The project’s aim is to make the collections held by these museums more accessible, but to do so in a way that links the objects in the collections with the broader history of London. All objects and images featured on the site speak of the real events and experiences of twentieth-century London.

The content covers different types of objects: from Routemaster buses to architectural designs; from 1970s platform shoes to oral history recordings; from paintings and artworks to family photographs. It also includes a mass of supporting information. Overall, the site is intended to be a ‘learning resource’, providing a large quantity of material which people can use to pursue their own interests and projects.

The first phase of the project has two outputs:

  • an integrated website combining collections from all four museums
  • a separate website for the Museum of London, tailored to the Museum's needs, with additional material.

In Phase II seven additional London institutions have joined the partnership:

As part of Phase II of the project, a version of the site for children has been created:

In Phase III of the project the following partners have joined:

The London Museums Hub has pledged financial support for the project until March 31st 2011, when phase IV will be completed. It is hoped that the site will provide a model for similar projects in other regions of Britain.

The technical delivery of the project has also involved partnership working. IT and Documentation staff from all four museums have worked together to create standardised data. The data is then sent to the Peoples Network Discover Service (PNDS) where the different sets are combined into one database and made available to the project’s own content management system (CMS), ‘Amaxus’ from BoxUK. The CMS joins the data with its associated image and media files, before publishing them all in a readable form on the website. Although the PNDS has been live since October 2005, this is the first project to use this national infrastructure as a way of aggregating and then publishing data to another content management system. 

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