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Title: Creating a Virtual Museum of Antiquities: An Interactive Teaching Tool
Contributor(s): Schmitz, Michael (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2012
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Abstract: The University of New England (UNE) was founded in the 1920s and was the first university established outside of a capital city in Australia. UNE is the longest continuous provider of distance education in Australia offering external studies since 1955. The Museum of Antiquities at UNE was established four years later in 1959 as part of the then Department of Classics. The Museum of Antiquities is the only regional Ancient History and Archaeology museum in Australia with a collection encompassing antiquities from the ancient Mediterranean and the Near East, complemented by objects and ethnographic material from Australia, South East Asia, New Guinea, the Pacific region, Mesoamerica and Africa. In most cases it is impossible for a student to interact with artefacts on display in the museum, students get no more interaction than being able to admire an object from one angle through a sheet of glass. Although displays of featured objects, in some instances, allow students to walk around a glass cabinet and examine an object from multiple sides, it is only under exceptional circumstances that a student is able to hold and manipulate an object and this in a class-like environment and only for a very limited period of time, and even this limited interaction is not available to students studying at a distance and unable to attend the campus. The virtualisation project at the Museum of Antiquities was initiated to offer students the opportunity to interact with a virtual representation of an object. The project uses multinodal photography to create the virtual representations of artefacts held in the Museum of Antiquities which are then made available to students through the creation of QuickTime VR object movies, accessible through Apple's free QuickTime software. The QuickTime VR objects created for this project are made up of a series of photographs stitched together by the use of specialist software which creates the illusion of a three-dimensional object. The object being used by the students is therefore not an imperfect rendering, akin to an artist's impression of an object, but by being composed of actual photographs of an object presents the most realistic substitute for the original artefact available. By clicking and moving the mouse students are able to rotate the object 360° on the horizontal plane, zoom in on details within the object and do this from anywhere in the world whenever it suits them. This unprecedented level of interaction with the artefact leads to increased student engagement, learning and retention.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: A Handbook for Academic Museums: Beyond Exhibitions and Education, p. 421-442
Publisher: MuseumsEtc
Place of Publication: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781907697555
Field of Research (FOR): 210306 Classical Greek and Roman History
210299 Curatorial and Related Studies not elsewhere classified
130103 Higher Education
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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