About us

Things—the objects, tools, and artifacts of everyday life—are the material expression of human experience. Without them, we would lose track of what makes us who we are. Things outlast us, and we rely on them to tell our stories when we are gone. Things That Talk is a place for learning the language of objects from the full sweep of humanity. It is a durable, living archive of stories about the interconnected world of things. And it invites ongoing collaboration from a diverse range of communities. The platform facilitates storytelling by giving contributors all the basic curation, sequencing, and visual tools they need to narrate an object. And those tools are also evolving.

Olga Lobo’s (91) living room. There are many living rooms that are awaiting our visit. Olga made all the dolls herself.

To maximize the durability and usability of the platform, we implemented a linked open data system which automates the usage of WikiData within our interface, hosted by the WikiMedia Foundation. This simplifies the contribution process for our storytellers: they contribute images and reference data to WikiData, which is in turn imported into Things That Talk and transformed into an uncluttered, intuitive, and visually appealing experience.

We are grateful to have Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University as our funding partner, and its staff and students as our researchers. We would also like to thank Leiden University Libraries, Nationaal Museum Voor Wereldculturen and Rijksmuseum van Oudheden for being so facilitating. And, thank you Q42 and Fabrique for your fast and awesome work!