Digital Resources for Volunteers at the Imperial War Museum

Sponsor: Imperial War Museums London rsz_img_2194
Sponsor Liaison: Grant Rogers
Student Team: Linda Baker, Shintaro Norman Clanton, Andrew Gregory, Rachel Plante
Abstract: The Interaction Volunteers at Imperial War Museums London engage with visitors in the exhibits and discuss about certain artifacts. The communication of information among the Interaction Volunteer team, however, has been inefficient as the system relied on paper resources. Our IQP team surveyed volunteers and conducted a focus group to gather input about layout and features for a potential digital resource which the Interaction Volunteers could use in management of artifactual content and digital forms. This information was then used to design a website utilizing a content management system in order to make the communication of information more simple and efficient for the Interaction Volunteer team.



Executive Summary

Imperial War Museums, or IWM, is a museum organization that highlights the stories and experiences of civilians and soldiers during wartime. At IWM London, interaction volunteers walk around the galleries and present artifacts to visitors. Previously, information on the artifacts and various forms were all kept on paper, which negatively affected the Volunteer Program’s efficiency. Our team set out to develop a digital resource that contained the information and the forms for the interaction volunteers.
Our methodological approach had three key phases, which involved gathering data, creating a preliminary design, and finalizing our prototype. The data gathering process included a condensed volunteer training program that each of our team members completed, a survey of the general volunteer body, and a focus group interview to see what was required in the digital resource. Our preliminary design was built in PowerPoint and concentrated on the layout. Once the preliminary design was finalized, it was constructed in WordPress with added functionality.
The results of our General Volunteer Survey indicated that the volunteers wanted a resource that would be highly accessible and easy to use. The focus group interview yielded similar responses as well as ideas for additional features and considerations.
Using WordPress, we were able to construct a digital resource that is easy to edit and has a wide variety of functions. WordPress has a user friendly interface, and individuals with minimal background in web design and programming can easily make changes. Additionally, a “How To” guide was developed that demonstrates how to make changes on the digital resource in detail.
We have three recommendations for IWM regarding the digital resource. Our first recommendation is to move the website to a local server rather than a third party hosting service. Our second recommendation is to use this digital resource across other volunteer groups at IWM London as well as other IWM branches. Finally, we recommend IWM to hire a professional designer to improve the design of the digital resource.