Creating a personal (nano) museum toolkit

Spring 2021
14 weeks

A senior capstone project with Emily Zhou

This project was funded with support by the Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry.
nano is a collection and curation toolkit that encourages people to explore their niche interests and build a personal museum around them. We wanted to create something that encourages informal learning through making, and inspires an interest and appreciation in science and nature.

The framework of nano encompasses a physical kit and web interface, and by collecting artifacts, conducting their own research, and creating informative print content, people can then piece together their personalized micro museum as a lasting object that continues to display and inform others on the topic of their choice.

What is a traditional museum? What can a museum in the future look like? How can engagement be more dynamic and resonant?
With this project, we wanted to incite curiosity and create a space where people can collect and curate objects about things that they find interesting. In this way, learning is not a passive process/experience, as it would be in a traditional museum gallery experience. We hope that through a hands-on, DIY framework, and through the act of building and collecting, learning is fun and personal—and with the display characteristic of nano, that other people can find interest in random topics as well. 

If you’re interested in 3D printing your own frame, and printing out some graphics, check out (desktop only, sorry).

We recognize that by literally containing objects in a box, they are viewed in isolation from their context, sterile; as well as the imperialist history and legacy of extraction in museums today. In thinking beyond this project, I’m open to ideas, thoughts and conversations on: collaboration and community beyond an image gallery, and creating spaces for hands-on learning.