RPGs4Museums: Role Playing Games as Digital Museum Kits

Start Date: 01/01/2024
End Date: 31/12/2025
Funding: Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI)
Project Leader: Ioannidis Yannis

The main objective of RPGs4Museums is to contribute to scientific research in Cultural Informatics in the field of participatory activities for visitor engagement, for children and adolescents, aiming to promote historical empathy and the development of soft skills. Based on the in depth review of existing research and solutions, we can identify a gap in research, which we attempt to address in RPGs4Museums with the applications of a hybrid (digital and physical) role playing game (RPG) approach. Our research hypothesis is that RPGs in a informal education context, like that of museums, may support children to

i) achieve deeper understanding of cultural heritage and history topics,

ii) develop curiosity and interest for museum collections and combine learning with the transformation of knowledge to action and

iii) cultivate soft skills (creativity, decision making, communication, collaboration).

RPGs4Museums will adopt a user-centered methodology with the following steps:

  • Study of RPG characteristics, through an extensive literature review, ethnographic observation of game play and targeted workshops with game masters and players.
  • Elicitation of user needs (museum curators, historians, archaeologists, cultural managers, educators, students), through questionnaires, workshops and interviews. The objective is to address challenges of the application of a tabletop RPG approach in cultural heritage, also with appropriate digital tools.
  • Design and development of prototype digital tools to support the application of RPG in the form of a digital museum kit.
  • Development of a prototype RPG for the History Museum of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, with the objective to support experimental evaluation of our research hypothesis in relation with the benefits of RPGs as a social activity for historical empathy.
  • Analysis of the evaluation data to compile adoption guidelines and best practices for the proposed museum kit.

ATHENA RC is the project coordinator, also responsible for the following activities:

  • Research framework definition;
  • User requirements collection;
  • Digital toolkit and museum kit design, development and evaluation.