The Anglo Sikh Virtual Museum
Since 2016, The Sikh Museum Initiative has been modelling Sikh relics and artefacts – some of these will now be launched on a new website and can be viewed through virtual reality headsets. Some objects are from the Sikh Empire and link the Court of Maharajah Ranjit Singh through to the suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh hence highlighting the relationship between Sikh and British communities.
Summary of achievements
The project by the Sikh Museum Initiative (SMI) focused on creating digital resources from public and private collections and formulating then into an online museum. The objects considered were from the time periods of the nineteenth century Punjab, many of which now can be found in the UK. It was the first major project word wide cataloguing objects which considered the British and Sikh interactions on Anglo Sikh history in 3D. We undertook an in-depth programme of researching and documenting artefacts and relics held at museums in the UK. This included collaborate working with smaller museums as well as the more famous ones. Our volunteers and core team ensured that the project was a great learning and engaging experience.
These museums held information some publicly visible with others holding collections which we highlighted to the public possible for the first time or were less known to the Sikh community or the wider public. We researched objects and images held in larger institutions as well including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal Armouries as well as the British Library. Whilst the project started in July 2018, the online museum was launched on August 2019 at New Walk Museum. Leading up to this our digital showcases and interactions led to major exposure to the project and the objects which were to be published online.
We have on display on our website 21 objects digitised from various locations across the UK and incorporating jewellery and arms and armour, coins and cloth materials. This included the Koh-i-Noor diamond, jewellery from the Suffragette-Sophia Duleep Singh and other objects which had an Anglo Sikh appeal. The Sketchfab website has resulted in 12.1k views of the objects. This has been helped by the objects being embedded in the main www.anglosikhmuseum/relics website as well as other objects being shared on social media and the wider public sharing our objects. The website has received just over 10,000 views since 2019. We have engaged with local communities and ensured that the project reached not only the Sikh community but the wider public in general.
The project was featured on the BBC, ITV, several Sikh Channels (Sikh Channel, KTV, Akaal Channel), as well as several BBC radio programmes including the BBC world service. The media coverage was also prevalent in print and online media with coverage in Leicester Mercury, and in India, featured in the Hindustan Times, Times of India and Tribune India. Together with the ASVM appearing in top 10 virtual museums websites. The project was discussed by team members in India, USA and other countries via webinars. Social media was also used to promote the project and many pages shared our posts and videos increasing our reach to a greater audience.
The project was then taken on the road through digital showcases. We created a programme of events and undertook lectures, community activities which meant that the ASVM was exhibited at museums, Gurdwaras, academic research conferences, Sikh camps, Schools including being showcased at the Houses of Parliament. As a result, we undertook 54 engagement sessions across the UK where the project was seen or discussed for the duration of the project. We had 12 online events which directly or indirectly exposed the ASVM to a national and international audience. We had engagement with people from all backgrounds, faiths and all ages.
The project has helped formulate a better understanding of Anglo Sikh relations as well as bringing out technological innovations which has enriched all communities. We feel people of all ages were able to see the project in a multitude of ways. As a result, we feel the project was seen by over 4.6 million people through the various channels at our disposal.
- Client: Sikh Museum Initiative
- Location: National, UK
- Completed Date: Phase 1 completed 2020
- Project Value: 100k