Hacking the Museum: Mandela27 - A Democratic DIY Pop-Up Installation

Jacqueline Cawston, Nomatashayina Mfecoe, David Powell, Dimitar Angelov

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In Mandela27 the museum was ‘hacked’ to create a democratic Do-it-Yourself
(DIY) pop-up exhibition, inspired by the story of Nelson Mandela’s incarceration.
The installation tells the story of the journey from apartheid to democracy and
reconciliation in South Africa through a 360 video, archival photographs, a
digital game and an interactive timeline – all displayed from within a symbolic
reconstruction of Mandela’s cell in Robben Island Prison.
The project succeeded in involving a range of diverse audiences, including visitors
from under-represented social groups, through its design as a low-cost, pop-up
physical/digital installation. It was the design of Mandela27 that allowed it to be
made available and freely accessible online across Europe and South Africa,
where it has been displayed in multiple ways by local communities. Since 2015,
the installation has been exhibited at over 50 venues to over 184,000 people
and is still touring in 2023.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-105
Number of pages19
JournalMuseum and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  • Hacking
  • Museum
  • Pop-Up
  • Democratic
  • Mandela


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