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Artifact: Interactive Access's video poster

What if you could easily access artifacts of the past, learn from them, and allow them to influence the future? Read more

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This project was successfully funded on September 21, 2012.

What if you could easily access artifacts of the past, learn from them, and allow them to influence the future?

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About this project

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far!!

Our initial $2,500 goal has been meet! With your support we can go even further. The money we've raised will be used to equip a photo studio for the museum and help them continue this project. If we can raise $5,000, it will allow us to begin the process of migrating the collection information to a new database to allow for better searching and sharing.

The Artifacts:

The Grand Rapids Public museum has been collecting artifacts for over 155 years having the second largest collection of artifacts in the state of Michigan at a count of almost a quarter of a million and continually growing. Unfortunately it is impossible for the museum to have all of these objects on exhibit, in fact at any given time there are only 5-10% of them on exhibit.

The Project:

How do we bring 250,000 artifacts to the world?

This fall we are beginning a project by professionally photographing 500 of these artifacts. These images will then be posted on a new website that will be linked to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Visitors to the website will eventually be encouraged to attach their own oral and written histories to the artifact, giving them a more complete and in-depth story.

What is the benefit of having the artifacts available at our fingertips?

Having these artifacts so easily accessible helps them to become a useful resource for teachers, artists, researchers, and designers. It also allows people who are physically unable, whether it be by distance or mobility, to access the artifacts.

Why should we care about these artifacts?

These artifacts preserve the histories of the places we come from and the people that came before us. They tell the stories of our cultures and our advancements in technologies. If we let them, these artifacts can influence us as people, artists, designers, teachers, scientists, and musicians.

What will be done with the funds from Kickstarter?

Currently the museum does not have a photo department, so when objects come in the curators photograph the objects then they are logged into a database along with the low resolution photos for documentation and placed into storage for protection.

The funds from Kickstarter will allow us to build the workflow prototype and acquire the equipment to create a better documentation path for the objects coming in. Objects will be logged in then handed over to Artifact where volunteers will make high-resolution images; the objects are then returned to the safety of the archives.

Once the system is fully operational it will be passed to the museum staff and their volunteers to work with and use to expand the high resolution image collection. The images and data will be added to the museum's current database and accessible to the public, eventually making large parts of the more than 250,000 objects accessible from anywhere in the world.

What we can do if we exceed our goal?

Right now our minimum goal of $2,500 gives us a good start for this project. We would love if we were able to exceed our goal by $2,500 to $5,000, allowing us to start the process of moving the images and data to a new database for the museum's artifacts. This database would make the artifacts not only accessible to everyone, but also searchable by keyword, which is something that at this time cannot be done with the museums current database. Over time, the new databases would also allow the public the ability to attach their stories written and recorded to the artifacts.

The Book!!

At the end of our project a print-on-demand book will be available for purchase. This book will contain images of some of the 500 artifacts that we are photographing, along with stories from our blog. Anyone who has kindly donated will be able to purchase the book at cost.

The T-shirts!!

Take a sneak peek at our t-shirts for the pledges at the $75, $100 and $250 levels. There are two shirts that those who pledge will get to choose from.

Front Images: Graphics from the original blue prints of the old Grand Rapids public museum  building at 54 Jefferson
Backs Image: tag logo

The GRPM building at 54 Jefferson was constructed in 1940 in the Art-Moderne style and is connected to the Community Archives and Research Center that houses the museums artifacts.

T-shirt (A)
T-shirt (A)
T-shirt (B)
T-shirt (B)

Why Kickstarter?

We chose Kickstarter as our method of fundraising because we find it to be a community of people who truly care!

Do you find this project interesting and/or know someone who will? Please pass it on to them and help us reach our goal! Thank you!

To view the extended interview with Dale Roberson, click the following link:

Checkout our Website:

Follow us on Instagram: artifactgr

Like our Facebook: Artifact


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    3 backers

    A heart-felt thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    10 backers

    Post card sent to you with images from the collections!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    17 backers

    A limited edition 8"x10" print of an artifact!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    11 backers

    A set of 3 limited edition 8"x10" prints of the artifacts!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    1 backer

    An artifact group t-shirt and a limited edition 8"x10" print of an artifact!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    5 backers

    An artifact group t-shirt and a set of 3 limited edition 8"x10" prints of the artifacts!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer

    A one hour tour of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Archive for you and 9 friends (up to 10 people) hosted by a collections expert from the public museum and an artifact group t-shirt!!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    A copy of the book with a special illuminated book plate signed by Dale Robertson, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Public Museum and patron acknowledgment in the book!
    An 11"x17" print of an artifact signed by the photographer, you choose the image from a selection of 100 images!

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)