How can we use technology to create interactive and immersive experiences that will encourage more people to use archives? That was a key emerging trend at a conference last November on engaging communities with collections.
The one that piqued my interest was given by Hannah Rice, who ran a series of 3-D modelling workshops at East Riding Archives as part of Hull's City of Culture programme for last year. These provided an opportunity for participants to recreate Hull and the East Riding's built heritage whilst learning how to use collections to inspire their own historical reconstructions. You can find out more about what she learned from running the workshops here.
One response to her talk was a proposal to create a 3-D visualisation of the former castle in Cambridge as part of a project to persuade the county council to rebuild it as part of an expanded Museum of Cambridge. Those working in the museum sector have been invited to develop this to include other lost buildings in the city. In Glasgow, the School of Art has just been awarded £75,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to develop the prototype for an immersive virtual exhibit that will give visitors a deeper understanding of the restoration of the Mackintosh Building. There are also possibilities for using 3-D recreations of historical buildings in developing the settings for video games.
What might we do with the old photographs and architectural plans in our own collections here at BCU? I'd welcome your thoughts on this.