National Museum of American History to Partner With UK’s AHRC on Digital Humanities

September 21, 2017

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will host a new partnership between the Smithsonian and the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council centered on the digital humanities and with a focus on increasing digital research skills and digital scholarship in museums. The new partnership expands the relationship between the Smithsonian Institution and the AHRC as it builds on the successful agreement established in 2013 with the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships and extended in 2015 with a joint workshop on cultural heritage and climate change. 

The partnership was announced following a Sept. 19 meeting between the Provost of the Smithsonian, John Davis; the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the National Museum of American History, John Gray with the UK’s Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson and officials from Research Councils UK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The National Museum of American History’s Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs Catherine Eagleton will lead the project. 

With a commitment to support novel approaches in digital research and public access, the project will focus on areas including data analysis, skills development, museum curation, enhanced access to museum and archival collections, dissemination and audience engagement. The new partnership will be designed to facilitate the innovative research application of digital technologies in museums, nurture new approaches to digital scholarship, establish pilot projects in areas of mutual interest and drive discussions about the value and impact of digitization and digital collections in museums.

 Starting in 2018, the collaboration will bring together experts from across the Smithsonian with colleagues from UK academic and cultural institutions for a series of workshops, funded fellowships, and networking awards. These will provide a platform for sustained collaboration between the two countries in this critical and emerging research field.

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th Streets in Washington, D.C.