How to digitise museum collections

A few weeks ago training sessions took place at Kendal museum for volunteers and cultural heritage students to learn how to start a digitisation project on a limited budget. The training sessions were passing on the knowledge we had learnt during the HLF project, so I thought it would be useful to share on here too.

Before starting your digitisation project it is important to have clear visions of what you want to achieve. Why it is important to digitise the collection? What the images will be used for? How will you make the collections accessible?

2215_KMG2012.1.160  2095_KMG2004.1.4522092_KMG2004.1.1245

The next stage is to consider practicalities such as setting up camera equipment and lighting, this will depend on the collection you are digitising. The project at Kendal museum has been digitising a geology collection and a herbarium, each collection required a different photographic set up. The herbarium is 2D and required a fixed camera position whereas the minerals are 3D and vary in size so the camera position was changed. Before starting a project it is important to have suitable storage space for your images such as a hard drive, the images should be backed up to at least two locations.

digital work flow

It is useful to have a digital workflow to plan and organise how you will achieve image capture. A necessary part of the process is to organise image files and process/ edit images to produce files for different outputs such as for the web or posters or preservation images. This will help you to achieve your goal to share previously inaccessible collections.

display case 6Digitisation Unit Oct 2014 (2)2263_KMG2012.1.1

FINAL Kendal Museum Logo CS3HLF logoKendal college logo

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