V&A is the world's first museum to collect social media applications

Friday, September 15, 2017
V&A is the world's first museum to collect social media applications

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A), today announced that it has added a version of WeChat (Weixin) to its collection, making the V&A the world's first museum to collect a social media application. WeChat is the most widely used social media application in China, connecting over 963 million monthly active users worldwide.

V&A is the world's first museum to collect social media applications

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A), today announced that it has added a version of WeChat (Weixin) to its collection, making the V&A the world's first museum to collect a social media application. WeChat is the most widely used social media application in China, connecting over 963 million monthly active users worldwide.

The WeChat app joins the V&A's Design, Architecture and Digital (DAD) collections, which aim to represent the most influential and relevant design objects of our time. Visitors to the V&A in London can now see the WeChat application showcased on a mobile phone in Gallery 76, accompanied by digital stickers and sketches. 

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director of the V&A said "This acquisition represents a snapshot of a globally consumed social media platform. It is a fantastically important addition to our collection of digital design, reflecting the ever-changing way we communicate and consume information. This technology reflects the cutting edge research and valuable relationships we are developing in Shenzhen, one of the main centers for design in China and a leader in the wider manufacturing and creative industries in the Pearl River Delta."

The new addition to the collection captures both a virtual and physical snapshot of WeChat at a particular moment in time for the V&A's collections, allowing the Museum to collect, and also conserve and display this important social media platform for our visitors. The acquisition features a demo version of the Android Package Kit (APK) from 2017, which was specially made for the Museum by the developer of WeChat, Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Company Limited. 

WeChat, developed by Zhang Xiaolong in the Guangzhou Research Center of Tencent in late 2010 and launched in early 2011, is one of the most popular social media platforms today. Part of the app's success is that it provides 'apps within apps', setting it apart from other social media platforms. In 2011, soon after WeChat launched, it introduced voice messaging, allowing people to send short audio notes. This was quickly adopted in China, as voice messaging was quicker and more intuitive. 

WeChat display © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

 

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