The story of cultural objects

You experience the power of a beautiful or interesting museum object with your whole body, not just intellectually. Yet we are still placing information screens between the audience and the object. The project meSch (Material EncouterS with digital Cultural Heritage) explores new ways to let people hear the stories behind heritage objects directly and immediately, in this way enriching the experience of European cultural heritage.

meSch connects physical and digital heritage collections by adding digital properties and information to objects. This makes physical or sensory interaction with heritage possible without a computer, tablet or phone. With MeSch we give the object a voice, so it tells us its own story. Stories are activated by the behavior of visitors or other objects. An object with significant emotional value tells his story when the visitor touches it. Or a sensor in the boot of visitors activates a story about the war only when visitors start marching together. Thus, stories and facts become accessible through natural gestures and physical movement. The result is a multisensory, 'smart' exhibition: a new cultural experience. Next to this, we develop a toolkit with which curators can program these 'smart exhibitions by connecting digital content to physical objects in a user friendly way.

Within this project, our co-design method is a key element: we develop and evaluate the tools and services with the public, curators, artists and designers in an iterative process. For this, three case studies will be executed in various museums and exhibitionsspaces, so that the prototypes can be tested by visitors.

Waag Society adds knowledge about different interaction principles to the project. Furthermore, we develop usage scenarios, we design the interface of the toolkit and we will organize workshops for curators during which the technology will be tested and implemented.

Project partners: Sheffield Hallam University, University of Limerick, University of Strathclyde, eCTRL Solutions, Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland, University of Stuttgart, University Carlos III Madrid, Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra, Allard Pierson Museum, Museon, Fondazione Bruno Kessler.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 600851.

The European flag

Duration of the project: 
04-02-2013 to 01-02-2017