The first artifacts displayed through virtual reality…

Inauguration of the exhibition Stories from the Past. A virtual journey in a lost landscape”, the first exhibition with components dedicated to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) of the National Museum of History of Romania, opened Thursday, at 17.00.

Admission to the event is free. The opening was organized in the context of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the National Museum of the History of Romania, the most important museum with archaeological and historical themes of our country.

The National Museum of the History of Romania (MNIR) reports that the opening of the exhibition “A History from the Past” is this week. A virtual journey into extinct landscapes “within the European project” e-Archaeological Landscapes of the Danube. Virtual Archaeological Landscape of the Danube Region “(” Electronic Landscape of the Danube Monument. Virtual Archaeological Landscape of the Danube Region”).

The National Museum of Romanian History (MNIR) is a founding partner of the European project “Electronic Danube Landscape. Virtual Archaeological Landscape of the Danube “(Electronic Archaeological Landscape of the Danube. Virtual Archaeological Landscape of the Danube / acronym DAeL). This project was implemented between July 2020 and December 2022, funded by the European Union, through the Interreg – Danube Transnational Programme. A major outcome of this innovative exhibition is to open this week at the Museum.

This archaeological exhibition is the first to be held by the National Museum of the History of Romania, which brings together – in an engaging and interactive way – classic methods of displaying artifacts from archaeological research in relation to the latest technologies currently used in museology, namely virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) .

The subject of the exhibition project is represented by two important sites (by the importance of the discoveries made within them and by the presence of exceptional artifacts from here, in the collections of the Museum and other institutions in Romania): Bronze Age cremation cemetery from Cîrna (province, Dolj, in southwest Romania ) and the Byzantine castle of Nufăru (Tulcea Province, in southeastern Romania), both located in the Lower Danube region, the geographical region where (still) the archaeological landscapes are preserved completely separate.

The exhibition benefits from cooperation with the Institute of Archeology “Vassily Parvan” of the Roman Academy (which provided expert assistance in archival documentation on the two sites and scientific advice to the Novoro site, coordinating the systematic archaeological research conducted here since the 1980s) and the Research Institute of Environmental Museums” Gavrilă Simion” – Tulcea (who agreed to borrow artifacts from the archaeological research of the Novoro site, and the institution is part of the Research Consortium).

Also, it can be achieved through cooperation with specialized companies – Gigapixel Art (for 3D scanning and VR content development) and Urbison (for design and design), respectively with Radu Oltean, a famous author of documentary illustration with a historical subject and Ionuţ Dupree, a specialist in the field of digital photography. . The exhibition team brings together archaeologists, museum painters and curators.

The field of archaeological heritage is, in general, well suited to innovative techniques of computational photographic documentation. Through these technologies, it is now possible to obtain new digital (cultural) products, intended not only for exploration and then for in-depth study, but also for the visualization and dissemination of 3D digital versions to the scientific community and the general public, but also to some precise descriptions of objects, structures and territories. These products in turn become powerful tools in analyzing and exploring research hypotheses, while also providing visual support for reconstruction, conservation and restoration decisions.

During the European project, where MNIR was able to draw on specialized services in this very new area of ​​the museum environment, several techniques were used to create complex interactive documents that address both archaeological landscapes (at the level of site and environment) as well as some of the most representative archaeological finds from these two The two sites are in the Lower Danube region, namely Krna and Novorou.

Photographic documentation

Thus, in order to display in a virtual reality environment (glasses or mobile stations) of the archaeological landscape, 360 aerial panoramas of each representative site were made, from the drone, which can be viewed through an online digital platform. The DJI Mavic Pro drone was used, as well as specific 360-degree panoramic software solutions provided by Kolor (AutoPanoGiga).

For the site from Nufăru (Tulcea Province), detailed photographic documentation of the landscape and the area containing the archaeological excavations was also made, using DJI Mavic Pro and Inspire 2 drones, where the processing of a digital terrain model is carried out using the selected Agisoft Metashape solution.

For the 3D digitization of the most important artifacts from these sites, a high-resolution scanning system provided by Artec was used, the scanner model is Space Spider, with metrological width and sub-millimeter resolution, and processing is performed using Artec Studio v14.

The 3D models of the selection of artifacts (more than 150), are published, through the online platform Sketchfab, on the website dedicated to the National Museum of the History of Romania. Thus, these models become accessible to an international audience, and can be viewed from anywhere in the world, either using virtual reality glasses or through the AR-type interaction provided by through a dedicated application.

The public visiting the exhibition at the headquarters of the National Museum of the History of Romania will be able to benefit from specialized assistance for the use of this modern equipment.

New technologies such as 3D scanning, virtual reality and augmented reality allow the development of digital cultural products that lead to new approaches to archaeological exhibitions.

From this perspective, the exhibition “Past Tales. A Virtual Journey into Extinct Landscapes” within the European project e-Archaeological Landscapes of the Danube. Archaeological Landscapes of the Danube (“Electronic Danube Landscapes. Virtual Archaeological Landscapes of the Danube”) ), but also for professionals – on what a museum might look like in the twenty-first century, by combining the display of authentic artifacts accompanied (however) with many other digital visuals.

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