Ernst Kruiff, Ferdinand Hommes


Digital Ecological and Artistic Heritage Exchange

DHX_Reconstructed Shilla-culture_© KIST

DHX_Reconstructed Shilla-culture_© KIST

Content Description

Transcontinental guidance and exploration of digital cultural heritage (DHX)

The acceptance of new media in museum spaces worldwide is rising, and will do so further in the future. Whereas the internet has found its way into many museums, new directions of usage of information technology can be identified. One of these directions is the usage of interactive stereoscopic projection systems. The hype around “virtual reality” (VR) in the mid-nineties has been blurred out, since technology used to be too expensive and too hard to control. At the current, though, VR has matured and can be applied in museums, using low cost installations.

Within the project DHX (Digital Artistic and Ecological Heritage Exchange), careful investigations take place on how, and to which extend VR can be applied in museums. Not only does this project focus at technical innovations, it foremost takes a look at how museums can mutually exchange cultural and natural heritage. This enables the museum visitor to access heritage coming from other museums in an attractive way, via network connections.

Within the project, five different scenarios are developed. These scenarios are bound to the locations of the project partners, so that local expert knowledge can flow into the applications. The applications are not simple “walkthroughs” but highly interactive stories, which are flexible (non-linear), and include rich sources of background information. For example, a large database with theatre data (over 50.000 entries) can be accessed from one of the applications. The other applications convey the Battistero on the Miracle Square (Pisa, Italy), the life of Beethoven (Bonn, Germany), the Samaria Gorge (Crete, Greece), and the Yellow Dragon Temple (South Korea).
For this purpose, content development tools are under development that allow trained personnel to create content for VR applications, whether for preservation purposes, or to allow new ways of information communication to museum visitors.
An exciting new aspect of the DHX project is the coupling of multiple installations via network connections. For example, people in a museum in Germany can be accompanied by a museum guide from Italy (who is also located there). Hereby, the guide navigates the museum visitors in Germany through an Italian historical site, and provides inside knowledge about the site. In this way, content coming from different sites can be shared among museums, as well as the knowledge of the local experts. Direct communication between remote partners is not only handled via audio-video connections, but can also be resolved via naturally communicating virtual characters.
Overall, the DHX project presents the next stage in museum presentations, whereby information technology is used to present and exchange natural and cultural heritage in an attractive, new way.

Kruijff, E., Severin, I. Transcontinental guidance and exploration of digital cultural heritage (DHX). In proceedings of CIDOC/ADIT 2003, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, 2003