The Digital Museum

Tea Time

Screen Shot from the Wellcome Collection's High Tea game

I’ve always been a big fan of history. Therefore, back in 8th grade when my class began studying Chinese history, my teacher had no trouble catching my interest. However, a few of my classmates probably would have appreciated this little gem from the Wellcome Collection to help set the scene and bring the words in our textbook to life.

As part of last year’s exhibit, High Society, London’s Wellcome Collection produced a video game that allowed visitors to their website to dive headfirst into the lucrative and risky world of the tea and opium trade that took place in the Pearl River Delta in the years leading up to the First Opium War. The game, High Tea, is still available on the Wellcome’s website, and is about as addictive as the opium you are smuggling (fictionally, of course).

High Tea is just one of the many ways that the Wellcome Collection has succeeded in fulfilling their motto: “A Free Destination for the Incurably Curious.” The museum does an excellent job of using their website and new media to allow visitors to experience exhibitions well beyond the walls of the galleries. Other examples include the Magic in Modern London iPhone app that leads you on a treasure hunt in Edwardian London (a tie in with the Charmed Life exhibit that just closed), a Tiredness Test to coincide with an exhibit about sleeping and dreaming, and during their Heart exhibition, visitors were invited to watch a live open heart surgery and ask questions of the doctor and patient.

What other museums do you think are doing particularly noteworthy events, apps, programs, and tools to tie in with their exhibitions and collections?

2 Responses to “Tea Time”

  1. Jane Fleming on March 8th, 2012

    The Horniman
    An anthropological museum set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens
    100 London Road
    Forest Hill
    London SE23 3PQ

  2. Peter on January 16th, 2013

    I think projects like this are a great way to introduce people to history…i’m always interested in finding out how people use the internet like this. Thanks.

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