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Virtual Museum – Upper Silesian Ethnographic Park in Chorzów

In order to increase attractiveness of the presentation, in particular through targeting the younger recipients, the Museum “Upper Silesian Ethnographic Park in Chorzów” introduced to its offer a new mobile application using virtual reality and the so called expanded reality. For the purposes of the project combining tradition with modernity the Museum digitalized and made available online almost 400 documents concerning the Silesian cultural heritage.

Project title
Creating the system of online applications for mobile devices for the purposes of presentation of the regional folk culture

Museum “Upper Silesian Ethnographic Park in Chorzów”

Priority axis/ Measure/ Sub-measure
Priority axis: II. Digital Silesia
Measure: 2.1. Support for the development of digital public services
Sub-measure: none

Project value: PLN 709,098.70
EU grant value: PLN 487,189.86

Why was the project undertaken?

Outdoor museums, also known as open-air museums, are places that protect and promote the monuments of material and immaterial culture by showing a world that is becoming forgotten more and more quickly. The Museum "Upper Silesian Ethnographic Park in Chorzów", like other open-air museums, faced the difficult challenge of making the presentation of its ethnographic resources attractive in terms of form and adapted to different groups of recipients.

The recipients of museum services, in particular young people and children, expect a dynamic and interesting form of communication, in line with the spirit of modern world. They expect an exhibition that changes with time passing, so that subsequent visits in the same place carried along new attractions and experiences. Classic form of presentation is insufficient nowadays to fulfil the mission of dissemination and to reach the interested recipients. For this reason, the Museum decided to go for mobility and virtual reality, directing its offer also to those recipients who are interested in latest technologies. Thanks to the introduction of the new application, visiting the Museum has become more interactive and thus, more attractive for the recipients, especially the younger ones. Contact with exhibits became more engaging and reminds a simulation game in which the visitor has become an active participant of events (i.e. through virtual disassembly of a model of threshing machine by means of virtual reality technology).

What has been achieved?

In order to increase attractiveness of the presentation, in particular through targeting the younger recipients, the Museum “Upper Silesian Ethnographic Park in Chorzów” introduced to its offer a new mobile application using virtual reality and the so called expanded reality.

The mobile application leads the visitors through the Museum as a virtual guide in the most advanced possible form, that is through placing on the camera image the information on the direction and length of individual exhibition elements. In addition, the visitors obtain full information on the topic that interests them, as well as their archived photos.

The modern enrichment of the application are the short globular videos, presenting scenes from Upper Silesian life in the countryside from before a hundred years. Thanks to the use of expanded reality technology, one may find a ‘revived’ chamber in one of the cottages, in which everyday activities are presented performed in the past days by a family that occupied it. What is interesting is that these videos are integrated with the museum exhibition in a smooth way, combining the virtual world with the real one.

Another attraction is the virtual pigsty, where one may view digitally reconstructed animals, moving in real space of an object, while spatial sounds surround them. Having reached the barn, the lovers of technology may witness how a threshing machine looks like and works in details, comparing the real exhibit with its digital, animated version, presented in expanded reality technology.

For the youngest users of the application, field games have been designed. One of them consists of finding virtual animals which are to be found within the entire area of the Museum and which must be taken back to the pigsty. For the slightly older visitors a more difficult tasks has been planned-compiling of the elements of threshing machine which an absent-minded host lost within the nearby bushes and buildings.

The museum visitors may launch an application on their tablets rented out at the Museum ticket office or on their own devices-tablets or smartphones with Android and iOS systems. Due to the use of modern technologies in the application it is however necessary to fulfil  high requirements by one's own device- for the proper functioning of the equipment, the devices need to be equipped in, among others, strong graphic processor, gyroscope and IMU as well as a precise GPS receiver. For those interested, the Museum has 15 tablets in wooden framing, rented out at the ticket office, at its disposal.

Who uses/benefits from the effects of the project?

The application is intended for all lovers of cultural heritage, as well as new technologies fans.

What are the main benefits of the project?

– popularization of regional folk culture,

– digitalized and made available online 399 documents concerning the Silesian cultural heritage.

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