Digital Feasibility Study for The Horniman Museum & Gardens

The Horniman Museum and Gardens has recently embarked upon a journey to redevelop its natural history gallery and gardens. Planned to open in 2026, Nature + Love aims to highlight the climate emergency to visitors, engage wider audiences and mobilise visitors into action on climate change and ecological challenges. Recognising the necessity for a deep understanding of the natural history sector combined with a sensitive and innovative approach to digital integration, they commissioned Emily Smith Associates to explore the opportunities digital technologies can play in achieving these objectives.

Emily Smith Associates worked closely with in-house museum digital, production, maintenance and curatorial teams in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the project aims and existing and future infrastructure. Widening audiences, increasing audience engagement and diversity and linking the galleries and grounds were of key importance to the approach to digital interpretation.

The study produced recommendations drawn from international case studies, a review of existing infrastructure,  site visits, interviews with digital thought leaders in the sector and two audience insight surveys undertaken at Bromley Glades shopping centre and Horniman Museum & Gardens. This market research was directed at visitors and non-visitors alike and consisted of 5-minute ‘snapshot’ postcard surveys as well as 15-minute digital showcase surveys which engaged participants in more depth qualitatively. Alongside recommendations and audience data, the final study also included budgetary forecasts and SWOT analysis of each potential avenue for digital interpretation such as: Augmented Reality, citizen science, interactive technologies, and immersive environments.

“It was a fantastic experience to work so closely with such a dedicated and enthusiastic team at the Horniman Museum & Gardens and to hear first-hand from visitors and potential visitors. We are immensely pleased that our report is of value in developing a digital approach for the Nature + Love project that will connect visitors with these important environmental messages.” – Emily Smith

What our clients say about us

‘It was fantastic working with Emily Smith and her team on what was a really important piece of work us: the Digital Feasibility Study in the Horniman’s major redevelopment project Nature + Love. Emily and her colleagues were really thorough in the conversations they had with the Horniman team and the research they carried, offering brilliant insights in interpreting their findings, and were adaptable to some last minute changes from our side. Emily’s expertise in digital, technology, natural history and the GLAM sector was really invaluable. I’m so pleased with the outcomes Emily and her team delivered, and I would love to work with them again in the future.’

Connie Churcher, Digital Manager, Horniman Museums and Gardens