Nov. 19 The Future of Digital Public History

Today we’ll look at some current, emerging, and experimental approaches to museums and digital public history. We’ll also take stock of what we have explored this semester and consider what directions public history might take in the future. Developers and designers need humanists to understand the current capabilities of emerging technologies, their future potential, and how we can harness them to tell stories,  share history, and build communities.

First, let’s have a look at a new, non-digital personal approach adopted from a company called. Museum Hack. Have a look at their approach.

You have already had a small taste of augmented reality when we looked at digital games, now have a look through what others are doing with the medium and imagine what you could do with this in the future.

Read Chapter 1 of Alan Craig, Understanding Augmented Reality: Concepts and Applications (2013) (Requires UWO proxy) and explore the rest.

Have a look at some examples of AR in Museums  and 5 more from the Smithsonian Magazine.

Have a look through Seeing the Past with Computers, and in particular check out Shawn Graham et al’s work on audio augmented reality. 

What will it take to make this a viable medium for museum use?

Augmented sights and sounds has been the focus of most AR designers, but what about Haptic Augmented Reality? A team of researchers tried this out at the National Museum of Scotland back in 2014. Read about their results: Mariza Dima, Linda Hurcombe, and Mark Wright, “Touching the Past: Haptic Augmented Reality for Museum Artifacts” (2014) (Access through OWL). And see how far the technology has come in 6 years. What sort of applications could you envision for this?

3D Modelling and Virtual Worlds

Holograms are being used to preserve historical testimony for future generations to not only learn from but to interact with and ask questions. Read a longer discussion of a similar project by Maria Zalewska on OWL.

A group of scholars from the University of Calgary is exploring ways to connect people with the past using 3D models and “virtual world exhibit” you can find in the VMC above. Peter Dawson, Richard Levy, and Natasha Lyons, “‘Breaking the Fourth Wall’: 3D Virtual Worlds as Tools for Knowledge Repatriation in Archaeology” Journal of Social Archaeology, Vol. 11, No. 3, (2011): 387-402. (Access through OWL).

Virtual Reality is finally becoming more user-friendly, and is finding a home in museums, according to The Verge. Have a look at the MET’s new VR Exhibit Small Wonders: The Virtual Experience, which was created for the AGO with 3D scans completed here in London at Sustainable Archaeology.

Play around with some examples from Google Cardboard.

And you can make your own Virtual Museum experiences with Artsteps.

Finally, if you want to explore how to make your own VR, you can begin here.

Experience a Berlin Wall escape in VR