Museums Without Walls: An interactive resource exploring connections between Orkney and the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada

Alice Watterson (Designer), John Anderson (Developer), Rany Bechara (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


Through this project the Stromness Museum collaborated with the 3DVisLab at the University of Dundee and source community members in Canada to co-design an interactive digital resource with the aim of bringing the collections to a global audience. The resource has been designed around an interactive map which brings together diverse voices to create fresh perspectives and insights on the museum’s Hudson’s Bay Company, John Rae and Moravian Mission collections.

The programme of work conducted by the 3DVisLab has included research into the collections, collaboration with Indigenous partners, interaction design, production of bespoke artwork and 3D structured light scanning of around 80 objects from the museum collections. A significant focus for the project has been connecting with source communities and family connections between Orkney and Canada. The collections contain objects from a number of Indigenous groups including Inuit, Greenlandic, Alaska Native, Métis, Cree, Ojibwe and Iroquois. Through an honorarium system we have been able to invite a number of collaborators to join the team in various capacities as local researchers, provenance consultants, interviewees and interviewers. The team have conducted a number of interview sessions with individuals from a range of backgrounds including Orcadians with Cree and Inuit relations in Canada, families with relatives who worked for HBC, Indigenous artists, researchers and historians. We have then worked to pair 3D objects, photographs and locations on the interactive map with a rich variety of these insightful voices. Particularly noteworthy research contributors include Inuk researcher and museum consultant Krista Ulujuk Zawadski, Arctic collections consultant Dr Peter Loovers (curator on the recent British Museum Arctic exhibition) and museum assistant Lise Bos at the University Museum in Aberdeen who have been researching the material, cross-checking museum collections elsewhere and compiling Inuk-curated object descriptions for the museum’s Inuit collections which previously had very little background information and context.

The new interactive resource is presently installed in the Stromness Museum on a new touchscreen kiosk and is shortly due for release online in January 2021, where audiences from around the world will be able to access these 3D collections remotely for the first time, curated by multi-vocal stories spanning the Atlantic and 250 years of shared history.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOther
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021


  • digital heritage
  • remote access
  • co-curation
  • co-design
  • interactive media
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Orkney
  • Nunavut
  • Canada
  • Stromness


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