Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

Please touch – adding senses to the museum experience #Blogg100

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Please touch - Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story

Tactile experiences in museums aren’t new, but still not as common as one perhaps would wish for. The other week I visited the wonderful exhibition Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story at the Natural History Museum in London.

Among the tactile experiences were human sculls and flint tools. Visiting the exhibition with an 8 year old it was easy to tell that touching the scull of a Homo Heidelbergensis made a great impression. As well as watching the life-size models of a Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal that with a fierce look greeted the visitors.

Tactile is fantastic. It adds to the multi sensory experience that visiting an exhibition brings. What if a 3D model of the sculls could be downloaded and printed to a reasonable cost? Imagine schools visiting the exhibition and when returning to the classroom being able to print their favorite objects?

So far, 3D printed objects cannot re-create the sense of flint tools, the smooth surface and the sharp edges. And touching the object in a well designed exhibition, rather than in a class room, is something else.

Still there are possibilities of extending the experience of the museum visit by letting the audience print a favorite object. Why not having an online quizz: Which dinosaur are you? And let the kids print that particular dinosaur. Or print an historical person. Imagine browzing the museum online database and see the object emerge in your living room. We aren’t there yet but when planning for the museum and the next five years the use of tactile experiences through 3D printing ought to be explored further. And as with all new technologies, avoid 3D-printing ”because we can”, do it because it is relevant to the audience.

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Blogg post 4/100 #Blogg100-challenge

Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story

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