Interest check for a Modern Museum of Keycap Artisans

I’m investigating the idea of starting a modern museum of keycap artisans.

I’ve been lurking in the MK community for the past year and have been looking for a way to engage with the community other than buying and selling to get the perfect setup. In the past I’ve had a good experience with another small art collection project (post-it art) and recently I’ve come to realize that the sub-culture of artisan keycaps is growing virtually unknown from the public. I believe that it’s fine for hobbies to be obscure and kept behind lingo and secret knowledge, but art forms and artists usually benefit from recognition from larger audiences and the attention or diverse audiences.

My initial goal would be to create a travelling exhibit that would feature keycap sets and the artists that created them, so that the exhibit could be shipped to other keycaps artists around the world for meetups, art exhibits or simply for artists to see the work of others up-close.

Because nerds always read the plaque… these travelling exhibits would also have accompanying digital material to help with the appreciation of the work. I would hope to work with each artists and studios to build a “format” that would be both accessible to everyone and could be sustained accross multiple medium and generations of digital technologies.

Something beautiful is happening and more people should notice.

Would any artists be interested in contributing to such a project ? If so, what questions, hopes and ideas does it raise ?

Keep on keebing,

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Hey there, linkshine!


Hi, what does linkshine mean ?

Had the exact same thought

Ok… but what does it mean ?

Linkshine’s a scumbag who started his scam career with a similar idea: GH and friends family photo tribute board

Yuck! So he scammed a bunch of people of a keycap each to build himself a snazy keyboard and then… he disapeared ?

For something like this to work you’d nee a network of trusted long time community members to look after the exhibit as it traveled around but even then it could be hard to make sure it all stayed together.

I don’t really see the point of something like this existing though, meetups already have an insane number of artisans at them and plenty of people to talk about them.

Similar to what romevi said, kind of feels like a scam waiting to happen

Even if it would not end as a scam, there is always the risk of being lost during shipping. From what I’ve been reading its frequent enough that you should never send anything of sentimental value trougt the mail.

The idea I’m beginning to form would be to have the sets be exchanged in person during meetups between keycaps makers themselves or other contributors/participants that have gained enough trust. A setup where people down the chain are chosen by people in the said chain because they trust them.

Much like we do with kids that send “travelling notebooks”. Kids send them at the beginning of the school year and they get back their notebooks filled with stories and messages from around the world.

If you keep each set small enough and have multiple sets being passed around the risk of accidents or loss would be low enough to make it worth. After a while, the value of the set itself can be outweight by the community experience of it having travelled and been exchanged XX times.

I know meetups seem to have an insane amount of stuff shown. But I dont think it precludes having other means of sharing the fun. I dont live anywhere near a place where a meetup would occur and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I remember when bookcrossing was becomming a thing and everyone was saying it would endup being a scam. But people arent always jerks when the context is well tought trough. I know keycaps are not enough of a commodity to be compared to books. But I still think it’s a logistic problem more than one of not having enough trust going around.

Things are just things… it how we use them that give them their value.

I appreciate the sentiment and I think it’s a really cool idea but it just isn’t plausible. We already have tons and tons of artisans that get brought via collections to most of the major meetups. We also have a really nice running catalogue managed by Beehatch via for archival purposes. I just don’t see the positives outweighing the negatives and risks with something like this.

So much cynicism. If I’d want to start the thing by putting up about 100$ in and buying a “frame” and putting a first keycap in and sending it to my first “victim”. What would be a good frame/board ? Something pretty and that is actually possible to buy “in stock” ?

I sense the cynicism, in part, comes from a lack of understanding what differentiates this from all of the artisans that are already at meetups. I’m having troubles imagining how this could ever compare to what (at least bigger meetups) already have to offer.

But maybe this isn’t a project for large meetups with highly active local artisan communities. Maybe something like this would be more applicable to smaller and more remote meetups. Tapping into all of the people that can’t travel to larger cities. Where the idea of viewing a massive collection of artisans in person would be novel.

If not that, then maybe there is some other niche for your idea.

Any yes, this sounds like a risky endeavor. Sending anything around the continent/globe that may involve strangers can be dangerous. Look at examples like hitchBOT. This doesn’t mean something like this isn’t possible. But it might require tweaking the idea a bit. Or approaching it differently.

Well… hitchBOT was a trust experiment designed specifically to test the limits of strangers. I’m not exactly advocating that we should put artisan keycaps on the curb with a cardboard sign.

And calling a travelling collection of keycaps being a “niche” idea is an understatement. The constraint that the collection would have to migrate from people to people without the expediency of the mail system would give it the sort of slow pace that isn’t about “efficiency”.

I can imagine how a 16 key frame could be built by 16 people contributing in the span on a year or two, but I’m unsure of what would be the motus-operandi once the frame is complete. Just “expanding” the collection to a bigger frame is not good because it pools too much risk. I’m wavering between the idea of “splitting” in two 8/16 or asking people to “swap” keys to improve it … but since “improvement” is subjective it would be a hard thing to currate.

Also, if the sets just keep travelling indefinitely without an end-game, they would each end in tragedy at some point even with good intentions. Since Keebtalk is already a non-profit, maybe they could setup an auction after a set has travelled XX times and been completed. Maybe this would prevent the fear of scamming.

I don’t quite get why people would ‘donate’ their caps for this?