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In Conversation with Dave Patten from Science Museum

We’re pleased to welcome Dave Patten back to MuseumNext to give a lightening talk as part of our tenth birthday celebrations. We caught up with him recently about his work at Science Museum and how to get the most out of this years conference.

What’s your role at the Science Museum? 
I am Head of New Media at the Science Museum – I manage a small team responsible for the development and delivery of all of the in museum digital exhibits and experiences. I also helped set up the museum’s Digital Lab – which is where our more experimental work happens.

Dave Patten Science Museum

You’re always working on lots of exciting projects, what kinds of tech are you working with now?
I am working on a wide range of things at the moment. We have a really exciting exhibition programme over the next few years ranging from new permanent galleries on Medicine and Science in London, exhibitions on Secrecy,  IVF, The Last Tsars & Autonomous vehicles and large traveling exhibitions on the Sun and Science Fiction. The Digital Lab is working on scanning one of our larger iconic objects (I will share more on that in the early summer).

I am looking at other potential VR projects (following on from our successful Space Descent VR experience and The Handley Page VR experience) as well as some AR pilots. I am also working with the wider digital team and other colleagues in the museum to explore the potential of a born digital exhibition (again I will share more information on this at a later date)

What are the challenges of your work?
The Museum is working on a new suite of permanent galleries, these have much longer life spans that exhibition (potentially 20-30 years). This presents some challenges for the use of digital exhibits within those galleries in that no technology is likely to last that long! (although some of the very early BBC Micro based exhibits I developed when I first joined the museum came close)

You’ve been to MuseumNext several times, what advice have you got for getting the most out of the event?
Talk to everyone you can, you never know who you will meet or what you will learn. Go to all of the social events – see last comment. Don’t be afraid to collar speakers after their session if you want to know more – the Museum Next community is like a big family and everyone is always happy to talk and share. Don’t forget to share what you are doing, that’s the way we all learn – you may think that you are doing something that’s been done before but I bet there are elements of everything that you are doing that will be useful to others.

Dave Patten will be speaking at MuseumNext London in June 2018. 

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