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Lessons learned from supplementing archaeological museum exhibitions with virtual reality

AuthorsPuig, Anna; Rodríguez, Inmaculada ; Arcos Rosell, Josep Lluís ; Cebrian, Sergi ; Rodríguez-Aguilar, Juan Antonio ; Bogdanovych, Anton; Morera, Núria; Palomo, Antoni; Piqué, Raquel
KeywordsVirtual heritage
VR analytics
Gamified experiences
Issue Date29-Jul-2019
PublisherSpringer Nature
CitationVirtual Reality (2019)
AbstractArchaeological excavations provide us with important clues about the past. Excavated artefacts represent an important connection to civilisations that no longer exist and help us understand some of their customs, traditions and common practices. With the help of academics and practitioners from various disciplines, the results of archaeological excavations can be analysed and a body of knowledge about the corresponding society can be created and shared with members of the general public. Museums have traditionally served the purpose of communicating this knowledge and backing it up with the help of the excavated artefacts. Many museum visitors, however, find it difficult to develop a coherent understanding of the corresponding society only based on the artefacts and annotations shown in museums. Effective modern techniques that have high potential in helping museum visitors with better understanding of the past are 3D reconstruction and virtual reality. 3D reconstruction offers a cost-effective way of recreating historical settlements in a computer-generated virtual environment, while virtual reality helps with immersing people into such environments and reaching a high degree of realism. With the help of these technologies, it becomes possible to relive history, imagine yourself being a part of the reconstructed society and learn about its culture firsthand. The combination of 3D reconstruction and virtual reality represents a very powerful learning tool; however, this tool has been rarely used in a museum setting and its correct use has not been properly investigated. In this paper, we present a study into using virtual reality in itinerant archaeological exhibitions. We discuss the lessons we have learned from developing an interactive virtual reality simulation of the Neolithic settlement of La Draga. These lessons feature our analysis of qualitative and quantitative feedback of museum visitors, as well as what we have learned from analysing their navigation and interaction patterns.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10055-019-00391-z
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