The University of Liverpool’s Garstang Museum of Archaeology secured £40,000 investment from the Art Fund to produce digital exhibitions using 3D imagery – and to share this knowledge, expertise and equipment with similar institutions across the North West.
The Museums of the North West Photogrammetry Hub: building virtual 3D futures project will use the technique of creating 3D models of objects held in collections using multiple 2D images, allowing the public to get as close to these unique items as possible, as Covid-19 continues to keep the physical buildings sealed.
Garstang Museum Curator, Dr Gina Criscenzo-Laycock said: “The museums of the North West have some of the UK’s most important collections, and this project represents a huge step towards opening up these collections to make them accessible to people from both within and outside the region.”
The investment, which was awarded from the Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine appeal, will be used to engage a photogrammetry technician; purchase purpose-built computing equipment and software for the construction, editing and manipulation of 3D models; as well as allowing the purchase of photogrammetry equipment to loan to partner museums, to help support digital archiving of 3D models held across the region.
The Liverpool team will also provide training and direct working support to North West museum staff, which will help facilitate the construction of a digital exhibition, featuring augmented reality with accompanying app, that can be hosted at each partner institution.
Dr Ardern Hulme-Beaman leads the University’s Photogrammetry Team, in the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, he said: “We’re extremely pleased to receive this grant from the Art Fund and we’re very much looking forward to starting this collaborative project.
“The Photogrammetry Team in the University has been working extremely hard to advance efficient photogrammetry practices, and this award lays the foundations for future projects with our collaborative partners, both in terms of creative public engagement and research activities.”
The Garstang Museum, which was founded in 1904, houses more than 20,000 artefacts from Egypt, Sudan and the Near East – including rare pieces from Nubia – but is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The funding will allow The Garstang and it’s North West partners; The Atkinson Museum in Southport; Bolton Museum; Manchester Museum; Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in Carlisle and the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum to continue to make their collections available – in 3D – to interested members of the public, academics and students across the world.
Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum, added: “Manchester Museum is excited to be part of this project, which builds on our ambitions in this direction and – crucially – responds to a real need to engage with objects in new, virtual ways.”
To find out more about the University’s Photogrammetry Team, please visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/humanities-and-social-sciences/research/research-themes/centre-for-digital-humanities/projects/photogrammetry/ and to find out more about the Garstang Museum of Archaeology, please visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/garstang-museum/.