Fortuna Curiosa

Interactive Sketchbooks

GCSE and A Level students often come into the museums to get inspiration for themed sketchbook pages that they submit as part of the examination portfolio. We have lots of examples of sketchbook pages drawn by our staff, visiting artists and HE students over the years which we bring out for the students at the start of their visit as part of the introduction, and then we lock them away and the students never have another opportunity to consult them, on their visit, at home or back in the classroom.


We received a grant from the Oxford University Museums Partnership’s Innovation Fund to increase the accessibility and usefulness of these sketchbook resources to the students we engage.

As one part of the project we will digitise an example sketchbook page from each of the museums, selecting ones that best reflect the examination criteria for these kinds of pages. Just by digitising them and making them available online, we’ll enable students to consult the resource before, during and after their visit.

But we also wanted to take it a step further. There are specific requirements for the sketchbook pages if students want to receive top marks. These requirements are always immediately obvious from just looking at the example sketchbook pages around why certain items were selected for the examination theme, why they’ve used a pencil drawing, a painting or a photograph, and how they should annotate their sketchbooks to communicate their intent.

In order to deliver this we envisioned a website that presented the sketchbook pages, and which students could manipulate and zoom in on to see the detail. But also one that enabled them to touch elements of the sketchbook and then we could present them with more information, about the object featured, and about the requirements to meet the examination requirements.

Over the last few months we’ve been working with One Ltd to develop a WordPress site to deliver just this, and we have just received the complete framework for the site. Over the next few weeks we’ll be finished our sketchbook annotations, learning how to use the CMS, and updating the content ready to release later in the year.

Can’t wait to share the final result in a few weeks.

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This entry was posted on September 22, 2016 by in Museums.
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