|Supervisor:||Prof. Gudrun Klinker|
|Advisor:||David A. Plecher|
This thesis explores the possibilities of Mixed Reality (MR) to enhance visitors' experience in museums.
Based on a review of how MR is already used in cultural heritage settings, MR is in this work applied to a separated part of an ancient building to embed it into its original context and thus provide not only historical knowledge about it, but also an impression of its surroundings and the entire building as a whole.
For a cast of a relief of the Arch of Titus in Rome that is exhibited in the Museum für Abgüsse klassischer Bildwerke in Munich, a mobile Augmented Reality (AR) application was implemented and evaluated in the museum to assess whether it was possible through AR to enrich the visitors' experience and provide them with a basic knowledge and understanding of the relief's historical and architectural context and the Arch of Titus in general.
Implementation and Results
This work extends an AR app for the museum which was (partially at the same time) developed by Michael Felleisen as part of his master's thesis. The implementation uses Unity and the Vuforia SDK for the AR functionality.
In the following, a short overview of the components that were implemented for the relief is given.
When the relief is recognized by the device for the first time, a short description is displayed automatically. Domitian, the Roman emperor who had built the arch in honor of his brother and former emperor Titus, introduces the relief and its context from a first-person perspective to provide a basis for further information in a personal and entertaining way.
All other contents can be individually requested and explored by the user.
These include short descriptions of specific elements on the relief, for example the menorah (seven-armed candelabrum) or the carried placards as shown in the image below. The parts of the relief the respective explanation refers to are additionally highlighted in color.
Green info buttons indicate for which elements a description is available.
The main component of the application, however, is a 3D model of the Arch of Titus, which was created using Blender. It allows the visitor to see and explore the entire building the relief belongs to and also to learn of the relief's location inside the archway. The model can be individually placed on arbitrary horizontal planes in the museum (without a special marker) by using Vuforia's Ground Plane functionality.
Furthermore, maps including additional information about several buildings can be displayed in front of the relief to see the surroundings of the Arch of Titus in Rome and the locations of Rome and Jerusalem in the Roman Empire. For some of the buildings also 3D models are provided.
As an additional historical background, busts of Titus, his brother Domitian and his father Vespasian can be shown together with short descriptions to learn about their Roman imperial dynasty, the so-called Flavian Dynasty.
All in all, the results of the evaluation and the feedback from the participants indicate that this application had a positive effect on their museum visit.
To a large extent, it was possible to convey historical knowledge and the architectural and geographical context of this separated part of an ancient building. Furthermore, AR was perceived as an enhancement of the visit and a more motivating, interactive and vivid way to present information about the exhibits in museums.
These results reveal a great potential of incorporating MR and specifically AR into museum exhibitions. MR can serve as a useful and valuable enrichment and offer new perspectives on the exhibits where traditional media in museums reach their limits.