easily build, manage, and sustain mobile heritage experiences

Currently in development at MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, mbira is a platform to build, serve, and manage native and web-based mobile heritage experiences. The goal of the project is to create a constellation of open source tools (existing and purpose built) that will lower the technical bar for individuals, projects, and institutions interested in building rich, engaging, and sustainable place-based and mobile heritage experiences.

Interactive Map Interface

Based on the metaphor of “space and landscape as museum,” mbira lets users create mobile experience in which locations and areas are organized into curated exhibits displayed with a rich, interactive map interface.

Cloud Based Content Management

mbira projects are created and managed using a cloud-based digital repository platform.  When you add new content or edit existing content, changes appear dynamically in your native mobile app or mobile website.

Strongly Social & Multivocal

Build and manage mobile experiences in which users can interact with one another, scholars, and citizen experts around heritage places and spaces. Heritage should be engaged, community-focused, and multi-vocal.

Open Source Mobile Templates

mbira includes elegantly designed (and well documented) native mobile and mobile-web templates that you can use as-is or modify as you see fit. Great for people with minimal programming experience (or as a project jump-start for more seasoned developers).

Data Portability

Administrators can easily export data from their mbira installation as XML and JSON for the purposes of backup and migration.  You can also import data from other CMS and digital repository platforms into your mbira installation.

Free & Open Source

All of mbira’s components (including the digital repository platform, administrative tools, and front-end mobile templates) are 100% free and open source. Download, use, fiddle, tinker, fork, contribute – go crazy!

Your Heritage Content. Everywhere.

The mobile heritage experiences you create with mbira can be made available to your audience on mobile devices both as a native app and as a mobile-first responsive website (that also looks great in a desktop or laptop web browser)

Native Handset App

Make your mobile heritage experience available to your audience on Android and iOS handsets as a native mobile app that they can download from the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.

Mobile-first Responsive Website

Love the mobile web?  You can also make your mobile heritage experience available as a mobile-first responsive website that is accessed through your audience’s mobile browser and looks great on all devices (handset, tablet, etc)

Browser-Based Web App

While the heritage experiences you build with mbira is geared primarily towards mobile devices, your mobile-first responsive website also looks great on your audience’s laptop or desktop web browser.

mbira community beta available now.


sign up for project email updates.  You can also let us know if you are interested in working with us to use mbira before its full launch.

mbira's progress

See all of mbira’s progress, how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go.