3D scanning technology brings cultural sites to you

3D scanning technology is being used to offer university students, staff and the wider public virtual tours of museums, galleries and heritage sites in Greater Manchester.

3D scanning technology is being used to bring some of Manchester’s most celebrated cultural sites to all.

The School of Arts Languages and Cultures, The Institute for Cultural Practices, Creative Manchester and Digital Futures have launched an exciting project to 3D scan public spaces in cultural institutions at The University of Manchester and local museums, galleries and other cultural and heritage sites using Matterport technology.

So far, scanned spaces include the Martin Harris Centre at The University of Manchester, the People's History Museum, Band on the Wall, and Manchester Museum (scanned by Apollo3D)  with more locations to be added to this list soon.

At a time when visiting these spaces can raise a number of challenges, the 3D scans provide an alternative and complementary virtual experience of being in and walking through a cultural space. The project provides university staff opportunities to embed the 3D scans in teaching and learning activities, and enables students to conduct virtual research in these spaces.

As the project moves forward, the aim is that the 3D scans will become an essential public engagement tool, providing cultural organisations with additional opportunities to engage with existing and new audiences.

Kostas Arvanitis, Senior Lecturer in Museology, said: “The project is an example of the extensive research in cultural experiences and immersive technologies taking place at the University, and of the excellent partnerships we have with local cultural organisations. The 3D scans will support University teaching and learning, and provide case studies for further research and development on virtual and augmented reality with the creative industries and relevant businesses.”

Spaces that will be scanned from December onwards include The Whitworth and Platt Hall, followed on by more local museums, galleries, and heritage sites in the coming months. 

You can view the 3D Scans here.

To learn more about the use of 3D scanning of cultural spaces in an educational context, Dr Arvanitis and Dr John Piprani are hosting an online lecture on Matterport’s scanning technology and other digital reconstructions and their value in teaching and learning.

The event will take place on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 at noon, and attendees can register via Eventbrite.

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