This paper attempts to understand how present Virtual Reality (VR) environments can contribute to enhancing the communication of cultural heritage by providing an experience of the past that is acceptable for the younger generation, and how museums and cultural institutions should adopt and use such technologies. Aspects of acceptance, experience and expectation of VR with the underlying values are not well understood but is important for the sustainability of the communication of cultural heritage as a bequest to future generations. We conducted a combined quantitative-qualitative study to gauge how participants with learning modes, prior experience with gaming and VR, and knowledge about the history presented within the virtual environment accept and are stimulated in terms of personal experience, and their expectations and ideas for the future of VR if used for museums for enhancing the learning of cultural heritage. Prior gaming and VR experience were investigated to see if they do indeed influence the preference for using VR for learning cultural heritage. We demonstrated that particular age groups and background are especially agreeable to virtual reality as environments for learning and experiencing cultural heritage, regardless of their knowledge of the historical context of the virtually reconstructed site. The study has implications for the use of VR for enhancing the experience on the aspect of cultural heritage in museums and cultural institutions.
Several studies have highlighted the absence of an integrated comprehensive dataset covering all of the UK's museums, hence impeding research into the emergence, evolution and wider impact of the UK's museums sector. "Mapping Museums" is an interdisciplinary project aiming to develop a comprehensive database of UK museums in existence since 1960, and to use this to undertake an evidence-based analysis of the development of the UK's museums sector during 1960-2020 and the links to wider cultural, social, and political concerns. A major part of the project has been the iterative, participatory design of a new RDF/S Knowledge Base to store data and metadata relating to the UK's museums, and a Web Application for the project's humanities scholars to browse, search and visualise the data in order to investigate their research questions. This paper presents the challenges we faced in developing the Knowledge Base and Web Application, our methodology and methods, the design and implementation of the system, and the design, outcomes and implications of a user trial undertaken with a group of experts from the UK's museums sector.
In this paper, we present a procedural approach to capture a variety of appearances of American Second Empire houses, which are well known for their mansard roofs and their inspired ornamentation. To develop this procedural approach, we have identified the set of rules and similarities of Second Empire houses. Our procedural approach, therefore, captures the style differences of Second Empire houses with a relatively few number of parameters. Using our interface, we are able to generate virtual houses in a wide variety of styles of American Second Empire architecture. We have also developed a method to break up these virtual models into slices in order to efficiently and economically 3D print them. Using this method, we have printed miniatures of two landmark buildings in Savannah and Baltimore: Hamilton-Turner Inn and Enoch Pratt House. We observe that the virtual models still provide more details because of the limited resolution of the 3D printing process.
In recent years, digital cultural heritage has attracted much attention in the HCI domain, but there are currently few studies that focus on enhancing the appreciation of intangible cultural heritage content amongst cross-cultural audiences. This paper reports on the development of a Digital Gesture Library to support cross-cultural appreciation of traditional Chinese puppetry. We describe fieldwork with professional puppeteers to understand their practices and art form, which informed the development of the Digital Gesture Library, which uses a three-perspective archive of puppetry gestures and a tangible interface to support cross-cultural audiences? appreciation of puppetry and encourage further exploration of Chinese culture. We present findings on the efficacy of the Digital Gesture Library from qualitative and quantitative user studies and, from this, discuss the opportunities and challenges for developing digital technology for cross-cultural appreciation of intangible heritage.
The visualisation of historical information in museums is a crucial process for transferring knowledge by directly and simplistically engaging the museum audience. Until recently, technological limitations meant museums were limited to 2D and 3D screen-based information displays. However, advancements in Mixed reality devices permit the propagation of a virtual overlay that amalgamates both real-world and virtual environments into a single spectrum. These holographical devices project a 3D space around the user which can be augmented with virtual artefacts, thus potentially changing the traditional museum visitor experience. Few research studies focus on utilising this virtual space to generate objects that do not visually inhibit or distract the operator. Therefore, this paper aims to introduce the Ambient Information Visualisation Concept (AIVC), which can enhance the communication and interactivity between museum visitors and exhibits by measuring and sustaining an optimum spatial environment around the user. Furthermore, this paper investigates the perceptual influences of AIVC on the users level of engagement in the museum. This research paper utilises the Microsoft HoloLens, which is one of the most cutting-edge imagining technologies available to date, in order to deploy the AIVC in a historical storytelling scene ?The Battle? in the Egyptian department at The Manchester Museum. This research further seeks to measure the user acceptance of the mixed reality prototype by adopting the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The operational approaches investigated in this study include; personal innovativeness (PI), enjoyment (ENJ), usefulness (USF), ease of use (EOU) and willingness of future use (WFU). The population sampling methodology utilised 47 participants from the museum?s daily visitors. Results of this research indicate that the willingness of future usage construct is the primary outcome of this study, followed by the usefulness factor. Further findings conclude that the majority of users found this technology highly engaging and easy to use. The combination of the proposed system and AIVC has extensive applications in museums, galleries and cultural heritage places to enhance the visitor experience.
We present a VISE, an interface for VIsual Search and Exploration of about 836,000 museum objects extracted from National Museum Scotland and Rijks Museum web pages. VISE provides an interactive visual summary of the whole museum objects that encourages users to initiate their search from the interface. Usability evaluation of the visual interface revealed that users are more satisfied and attracted to explore museum collections via VISE than the National Museum Scotland interface (NMSI). We also learn that users with no background knowledge of museum collections, for example, visitors or tourist, can more easily discover new objects from the museum collections using VISE than NMSI.
With the advent of window glass, its optical properties arise as one important factor in the illumination, and thereby the visual perception, of Roman architecture. Computational simulation allows to reconstruct the daylight illumination of buildings with known geometrical configuration, if the scattering properties of window glass can be replicated. We describe a method to generate data-driven models of Roman window glass based on precise gonio-photometric measurements of archaeological finds. The method is employed to model four exemplary glass finds in the context of a simplified architectural scene, demonstrating the potential to support research in building history and archaeology focused on building techniques, lighting concepts and perception with accurate and reliable photometric data.
Museums offer an ideal environment for informal cultural learning on heritage artifacts, where visitors get engaged in learning due to an intrinsic motivation. Sharing the museum space among visitors allows for collective learning experiences and socializing with each other. Museums aim to design and deploy Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) in order to embrace the physical materialities of artifacts in the visiting experience. TUIs are believed to be more collaborative, attract more visitors, and persuade them to explore further. Cultural learning on heritage artifacts is particularly meaningful from the early age when opinions and attitudes are shaped. Museums accordingly follow a gamification approach (i.e. using game elements in a non-game context) to provide a collaborative and entertaining learning experience to young visitors. In this study, we investigate the implications of merging these two approaches in order to take advantage of the qualities of both TUIs and gamification in an educational museum context. Accordingly, we present TouchTomb and its evaluation in a real-world museum environment. TouchTomb is a situated tangible gamification installation that aims to enhance informal cultural learning for young visitors and to foster engagement and collaboration among them. The basis of the installation is a shared progress bar and three games with different spatial configurations, embedded into a custom fabricated replica of an original ancient Egyptian tomb-chapel wall on a 1:1 scale. Our field study involved 14 school visits with a total number of 190 school pupils (from 10 to 14 years old). We deployed a mixed-method evaluation to investigate how such a tangible gamification approach entertains and educates 15 pupils collectively for a maximum of 15 minutes, including the evaluation procedures. We particularly investigated how the different spatial configurations of the game setups influenced the stages of pupils? cultural learning, and the levels of engagement and collaboration among them. We conclude the paper by discussing the qualities of tangible gamification and its role in facilitating cultural learning. For instance, cultural learning is enhanced by situating heritage artifacts in the experience, and embedding learning in the reward system. Engagement and collaboration among visitors are fostered by creating a sense of ownership and designing a diversity of goals.
An immersive experience brought about by virtual reality can potentially enhance the appreciation of classical Chinese poetry, which is difficult to describe clearly in everyday language or ordinary media. However, making 3-dimensional illustrations for a 360-degree display in virtual reality is usually a labor-intensive and time-consuming procedure and hard to master for non-professional media creators, such as teachers. Motivated by the homology theory of classical Chinese poetry and painting, we propose an image-based approach of building 2.5-dimensional immersive stories to visualize classical Chinese poetry. Specifically, using Chinese shadow play as a metaphor, we have designed and implemented ShadowPlay2.5D, a sketch-based authoring tool to help novices create 360-degree videos of classical Chinese poetry easily. To ensure coverage of the diverse themes in Chinese poetry and preserve the sense of culture, we build a Chinese ink-painting style image repository of essential poetic elements identified via crowdsourcing. To facilitate construction of 2.5-dimensional scenes, we design features that support puppet-like animation, instancing, and camera organization in a 3-dimensional environment. Through two user studies, we show that ShadowPlay2.5D can help novices make a short 360-degree video in about 10-15 minutes, and the 2.5D stylized illustrations created can bring about a better immersive experience for poetry appreciation.
We reflect on the experience of Thresholds, a virtual reality recreation of the world?s first photographic exhibition, which has toured to multiple museums. Following the method of performance-led research in the wild, we provide an account of the artist?s design rationale and the experiences of visitors as the work toured. We reveal how the overlaying and juxtaposing of virtual and physical spaces established a virtual reality architecture that underpinned the extended user experience. Overlaying was used to layer a virtual model on to a corresponding physical set to deliver physical sensations of touch and movement alongside visual and audio stimuli. Juxtaposition was used to embed the virtual reality installation within the surrounding gallery space at each host museum, dealing with the challenges of entering, exiting, spectating and invigilating the experience. We propose that museum designers can use these techniques to deliver virtual reality installations that are compelling but also scalable and tourable.
CARE-GIS is a mapping application, with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) functionalities, which gives a geographic dimension to the important and valuable Corpus Architecturae Religiosae Europeae (CARE) dataset, useful not only for the scientific community, but also for a larger public of non-specialists, who can easily access the CARE information from a map. The CARE-GIS application makes it possible to select and display CARE sites? information (only for Italy, in the current version), by means of query forms, which allows to cross several fields of the recorded data, in order to create thematic maps with the selected data. Moreover the flexible nature of the application, by means of GeoJSON files and the QGIS software, allows to add more layers, and map historical/archaeological data vs. other types of data, such as geomorphological ones or the analysis of the construction materials, or any other data related to the CARE sites. The displayed CARE data are extracted from the WikiCARE web pages by means of PHP ?scraping? functions. A light weight database is used by the CARE-GIS application, mainly to handle the connection to the WikiCARE website and fasten up the CARE sites search functions. The responsive CARE-GIS user interface allows accessing the maps from any kind of digital device, such as computers, tablets and smartphones, making it a useful web application to get online information, when visiting the CARE mapped historical sites.
Digital technology in museum practice provides new means of interaction with artifacts and collections. In particular, we need interactive installations in order to encourage and stimulate visitors to learn and understand archaeological musical instruments through engagement and active participation: these instruments (i.e., interactive artifacts per se) are de facto unplayable and inaccessible to visitors, because of preservation issues. However, presenting artifacts to the general public is a complex task because of their multi-faceted nature, and digital technology must not sacrifice accuracy or depth of information for the sake of entertainment. Moreover, deploying digital technology is a multi-disciplinary effort that requires an interplay among different fields, from history and archaeology to information engineering and craftsmanship. In this paper, we present a methodology to relate such disciplines in order to design a digital multimedia installation that promotes archaeological musical instruments in a museum. In defining the problem, we identify four different aspects to consider: the museum collection, the museum environment, the manufacture possibilities for the installation, and the user experience. Such aspects are integrated in a design approach that is centered on Design Thinking. The proposed methodology was exemplified by designing and manufacturing an installation for a Pan flute from Egypt dated to 700 A.D., a case where multi-sensory interaction was particularly important to convey the lost sound of the instrument. We describe in detail an installation (exhibited at the Museum of Archaeological Science and Art of the Padova University), which virtually re-creates the Pan flute and communicates information related to its history, iconography, acoustics, musicology. We also carried out an assessment on the realized installation with a group of experts in the fields of information engineering, music, musicology, archaeology. The good results demonstrate that the installation is a convenient means of interaction, simple to use and aesthetically integrated in the museum context.
For more than a decade, User eXperience (UX) has grown into a core concept of Human?Computer Interaction (HCI) and has been widely disseminated and accepted in the HCI community. At the same time, Cultural Heritage (CH) has been a favored domain for UX research, while the visitor is able to exploit CH material before, during and after the visit, having different goals and requirements in each phase. Thus, CH organisations need to carefully explore the potential of investing in UX, as visitor satisfaction and intention to return and spread positive word-of-mouth is closely linked to the destination?s overall success. A multitude of methods for UX analysis exist, but a clear overview of the current state of the available UX research methods in CH is missing. Recent studies (Othman, 2012; Roussou, 2018) have successfully developed frameworks to measure UX in cultural spaces, but most of them still lack understanding about how visitors interact with new technologies and simultaneously with the exhibits. In this article, a survey that describes the conceptual frameworks, models, research methodologies and paradigms of incorporating Cultural User eXperience (CUX) in applications is reported, the overall interaction between UX and CH and the related aspects that are inRluenced by the CH application domain, as well as the parameters leading to optimization of the CUX. The outcome of this survey lays ground for understanding and deRining the concept of UX research in CH, while current challenges and issues for future work are discussed.
Three-dimensional (3D) puzzles of heritage artefacts are typically used to engage audiences in the interpretation of archaeological artefacts in a museum gallery. The reason for this is that a puzzle can be seen as an enjoyable educational activity in the form of a game but also as a complex activity that archaeologists undertake when re-assembling fragments, for instance of broken pottery. Until now the creation of this type of experiences is mostly a manual process and the artefacts used rarely reflect those in the collection due to the obvious destructive nature of the puzzle making process. To overcome these limitations, the contribution of this paper is a novel worfklow for the design and fabrication of 3D puzzles of artefacts. The input to the workflow is an authentic artefact from a heritage collection, which is then digitised using technologies such as 3D scanning and 3D modelling. Thereafter, a puzzle generator system produces the puzzle pieces using a cell fracture algorithm and generates a set of puzzle pieces (female) and a single core piece (male) for fabrication. Finally, the pieces are fabricated using 3D printing technology and post-processed to facilitate the puzzle assembly. To demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed novel workflow, we deployed it to create a puzzle exhibit of the Saltdean urn, which is exhibited at the Archaeology Gallery of the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. The workflow is also used with further artefacts in order to demonstrate its applicability to other shapes and types of artefacts. The significance of this research is that it eases the task of creating puzzle-like activities and maintaining them in the long term within a busy public space such as a museum gallery.
Folk dances often reflect the socio-cultural influences prevailing in different periods and nations; each dance produces a meaning, a story with the help of music, costumes and dance moves. However, dances have no borders; they have been transmitted from generation to generation, along different countries, mainly due to movements of people carrying and disseminating their civilization. Studying the contextual correlation of dances along neighboring countries, unveils the evolution of this unique intangible heritage in time, and helps in understanding potential cultural similarities. In this work we present a method for contextually motion analysis that organizes dance data semantically, to form the first digital dance ethnography. Firstly, we break dance motion sequences into some narrow temporal overlapping feature descriptors, named motion and style words, and then cluster them in a high-dimensional features space to define motifs. The distribution of those motion and style motifs creates motion and style signatures, in the content of a bag-of-motifs representation, that implies for a succinct but descriptive portrayal of motions sequences. Signatures are time-scale and temporal-order invariant, capable of exploiting the contextual correlation between dances, and distinguishing fine-grained difference between semantically similar motions. We then use quartet-based analysis to organize dance data into a categorization tree, while inferred information from dance metadata descriptions are then used to set parent-child relationships. We illustrate a number of different organization trees, and portray the evolution of dances over time. The efficiency of our method is also demonstrated in retrieving contextually similar dances from a database.