Have you heard about the Thresholds project? Using cutting-edge VR technology, artist Mat Collishaw is leading a project to recreate one of the UK's first exhibitions of photography at King Edward's School in Birmingham's New Street in 1839. Although the building in which Henry Fox Talbot's photogenic drawings were originally shown no longer exists, the room in which they were displayed will be recreated in wood. The installation will be a portal to the past: it will lead visitors wearing VR head sets to feel as if they are actually inside the 1839 exhibition. They'll not only be able to see the original artefacts and touch the display cases that house them, but also to hear the sound of Chartists protesting against being denied the vote and feel the heat of the fire crackling in the fireplace as they approach it.
The idea for the project developed out of a conversation with photographic historian Pete James (formerly in charge of the Library of Birmingham's internationally known collection of photographs), and would not have been possible without the knowledge gleaned from the archives of a number of different museums and other organisations.
I wonder how our own collections might be used to recreate a version of the School of Art in the 1890s?