Marco Rendina, Managing Director of EFHA explains:
"Traditionally, the experience of a museum and its objects is rather passive. Now, we are shifting from mere
observation to a more active involvement. Museums are rethinking their spaces to adapt them to the needs and
requests of the public to be more involved in the creative phases of the activities of a museum, from workshops
to display and exhibitions, promoting a deeper understanding of collections, a higher level of interactivity,
a more diverse offer in terms of activities and ways to engage with artefacts and their stories, and a more
advanced use of immersive technologies."
Cultural institutions are exploring new ways to make their collections more accessible, above all remotely.
However, in most cases, this has been limited to traditional web technologies - websites, online catalogues,
and social media posts - which offer little interaction and lack immersion. The pilots developed in the project
aim to expand onto new digital territories by utilising 3D and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies,
bridging the gap between uncharted digital arenas and physical space of the museum and hopefully inspiring the
cultural and creative sector at large.
Interacting with 3D digital fashion collections in social VR
The first scenario we envisioned addresses the challenges faced by museums in organising fashion exhibitions that involve
loans from other institutions. To avoid the many complexities related to loans (fragility of historical objects,
high costs of transportation and couriering, as well as issues related to prolonged display and conservation),
the pilot will experiment with new techniques of displaying using Social Virtual Reality. The aim is to
curate an exhibition showcasing 3D costumes from fashion collections belonging to different cultural institutions.
Building upon the successful MediaScape project by NISV (Europe's leading media museum and an EFHA member), this scenario
will combine the digital and physical experience with 3D objects coming from various collections in a virtual immersive
environment, and it will make them available in the Data Space for Cultural Heritage. Visitors will be able to bring to
life historical costumes from the collections of NISV, CMU and other museums from
the Modemuze network through social VR. The result will be an immersive
virtual exhibition, where visitors will directly interact with the 3D digitised
costumes and engage with other remote visitors. The exhibition will enable people to enjoy a cultural and educational
experience from the comfort of their homes, pushing the boundaries of a traditional museum visit.
Close-up interaction with artefacts, with the possibility to deconstruct and reconstruct historical garments and accessories,
immersion in a curated virtual environment, multimedia contextualization, and a shared social experience: activities that are
not normally part of the exhibition experience, and will allow the public a holistic and engaging exploration of fashion heritage.
Given the nature of the exhibition, the MediaScape platform will also enable digital shared experiences outside the museum's walls,
extending to schools, libraries, and other public spaces.
Virtual Fitting Rooms
This scenario leverages the previous experiences of Centraal Museum Utrecht, another EFHA member, in utilising 3D historical objects and AR solutions to extend its fashion collections beyond the museum's physical spaces. In the "Virtual fitting room" pilot, a virtual try-on web application based on ARKit/ARCore technology will be developed by project partner FBK. Users will be able to virtually try on garments using their smartphone or laptop cameras. The application will provide a selection of digitised historical hats from CMU, allowing users to virtually wear them. The AR technology will automatically adjust the size and position of the hat on the user's head, creating a realistic and playful experience. This initiative enables visitors to engage with historical objects and imagine what it would be like to wear them. The museum, in turn, disseminates and valorizes its digitised collections, allowing a more personal and interactive experience with them.
By pushing the boundaries of technology and incorporating these reuse scenarios, EFHA, CMU, NISV, and FBK aim to show new ways in which people can learn about, appreciate and get in contact with our shared fashion heritage.
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