The Bridges Collection
Museum of University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews is Scotland's first university, founded in 1413. Like the University, its Museums are rooted in and draw inspiration from this 600-year history of research and teaching, and the pursuit of knowledge for the common good. The Museums' collections are of national and international interest and importance and consist of around 115,000 artifacts and specimens.
The implication of the conspicuous ‘Do not Touch’ signs next to artefacts in museums hinders visitors from engaging fully with the art. Beyond sight and sound, their experience is devoid of touch and feel making it incomplete. However, as pointed out by Museum Professor Fiona Candlin, it would be impossible to allow the 4 million visitors of Te Papa to touch the valuable exhibits without irrevocably damaging them.
MUSA wanted to design a digitisation and interaction strategy that would help bring the Bridges Collection to life and test visitor engagement levels.
JIX created a multi-sensory mixed reality experience to solve this conundrum. The digital interactive exhibit allowed users to touch and feel the precious collectibles of the Bridges Collection, breaking the glass barrier, both literally and figuratively. It was about creating a unique experience for all museum visitors by inviting them to engage all their senses to connect more fully with the art.
With the use of cutting edge interactive technologies, we created digital touch replicas of the original artefacts that moved in-line with the visitor’s eye like real-world objects. The exhibits were equipped with gesture recognition and haptic feedback to allow the users to move and feel the object. An array of display options ranging from an AR glass to a flat-screen monitor were used to demonstrate varying levels of immersiveness.
We showcased our multi-sensory mixed reality research at Te Papa’s tech accelerator program Mahuki 2018 and Tech Week 2018 to a rousing welcome in the GLAM sector. The true interactiveness offered in the exhibit was given a huge thumbs up as the way forward for visitor engagement.
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