The city digitized the permanent history exhibition at the city museum with promising results

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2017-05-12 14:16

As an experiment, the city museum’s main exhibition has been digitized. The exhibition ‘A thousand stories in Espoo’ was digitized with 3D mapping equipment by Dimensium Oy. The result was then shown to schoolchildren and elderly for evaluation. The experiment showed that the digitized service can reach new customer groups, complement experience of the real life exhibition and be of help to potential spectators who cannot get to the spot.

The experiment was carried out as part of the city’s digital agenda, which aims to digitize services and introduce new IT solutions.

In the digital exhibition you can move around and read more about the objects by clicking on the icons.  

The city museum’s multimedia exhibition was a good place for the experiment

For the experiment, the city museum’s main historical exhibition A thousand stories in Espoo was chosen. The permanent exhibition is located at the Espoo City Museum in the Exhibition Centre WeeGee. The exhibition is multimedial, it includes video clips and other stuff. Thus, it is an interesting and versatile place for testing what you can achieve with 3D modelling.

The exhibition tells about Espoo (and what was there before) from prehistoric times to the present day. According to Carina Jaatinen, the exhibition manager, the task of the exhibition is to support and strengthen local identity and to be an experiential learning environment. The exhibition, in three languages, is aimed at both residents and tourists. The exhibition is one of the places on the culture and exercise path Kulps! for schoolchildren and it is used for teaching local history and culture and as a means for integration of immigrants and for urban marketing.

The real life exhibition had 100,000 visits in 2013–2016 and it will run with updated content for still a few years.

Desktop VR for the elderly, enrichment for education

The experiment was carried out in the winter 2016–2017 and evaluated by residents in the Kauklahti Life and Living Centre for seniors and by sixth-graders in Meritorin koulu.

First, selected showrooms were 3D mapped. Then, the 3D model was complemented with details, such as pictures of objects, videos and texts.

After that, the digital exhibition was tested on voluntary groups. In the Kauklahti Life and Living Centre, the museum lector introduced elderly persons with reduced mobility to the virtual museum. The Senior Centre has the necessary equipment for presentations. The residents and the staff were pleased to have the museum in the home – it is difficult to go anywhere with wheelchairs.

Residents at Kauklahti Life and Living Centre for seniors were introduced to the desktop VR of the museum by museum lector Tanja Ekholm.

The J-class of the 6th grade in the primary school Meritorin koulu tried the digitized exhibition as a teaching tool. The pupils adventured in the exhibition seeking answers to assigned tasks.

After that, the class visited the real life exhibition and finally returned to the digitized show to compare its function before and after the visit to the real museum.

According to teacher Kati Jääskö, the digitized exhibition has great potential as teaching aid and enrichment, especially when it can be utilized before and after the visit to the actual museum. The pupils' feedback was clear: the digital show is an interesting opportunity, although not enough to replace the real exhibition with its functional learning experiences.

The J-class of the 6th grade in the primary school Meritorin koulu studying the digitized exhibition.

An agile platform with lots of potential

Valia Wistuba, development manager for the city’s digital experiments, sees a lot of opportunities in the digital exhibition.

– The 3D virtual model is a more versatile and agile platform than for example videos or slides. The method can easily be used with all museum objects and make them public on the web.

If the museums would digitize their exhibitions systematically, it would bring the exhibitions home to thousands of new customers. Out of all the possibilities, choices must be made.

– During this project, we also identified many other potential objects to digitize, apart from the museums. We will soon assess whether we are going to experiment with 3D mapping more widely, Wistuba says.

The experiment was carried out in cooperation with interior 3D mapping provider Dimensium Oy.

– The exhibition is very multi-layered and thus the project proved to be more challenging than expected. The experiment in cooperation with the City of Espoo provided excellent ideas for development and we got important feedback on the usability of our interior mapping, says Tomi Rosnell, CEO of Dimensium Oy, who was in charge of shooting and implementing the solution.

In the summer a calendar of digitizing will be published on espoo.fi, where you can follow the exciting experiments under way. One aim is to inspire local people to participate.

Additional information:

  • Exhibition Manager Carina Jaatinen, Espoo City Museum, carina.jaatinen@espoo.fi, tel. 050 541 5114
  • Development Manager Valia Wistuba, the city’s digital agenda, valia.wistuba@espoo.fi, tel. 043 825 2905
  • CEO Tomi Rosnell, Dimensium Oy, tomi@dimensium.fi, tel. 044 393 3882