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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

Ch. Ioannidis“, M. Xipnitou b , C. Potsiou. c , S. Soile c
a Ass. Prof., Lab. of Photogrammetry, National Technical University of Athens, e-mail: cioannid@survey.ntua.gr
b Architect, Mycenaean Committee, Ministry of Culture, Greece, e-mail: liongate@otenet.gr
c Researcher, Lab. of Photogrammetry, National Technical University of Athens
KEYWORDSrCultural Tourism Museum, Recording, Visualization, Augmented Reality, Archaeological Heritage Conservation
Technological development increases the value of a museum as a means for information dissemination by redefining its features as
well as its new relationship with space and people. The creation of virtual reality systems and the development of a worldwide
network society offer the museums the ability to promote their exhibits or their education material at a global audience at a relatively
low cost. Great help can be offered by the new techniques in 3D geometric recording of objects-monuments of any size and the
advanced spatial information management systems.
In this paper the basic principles of a new concept regarding the ‘space’ of the museum is developed. In this concept a museum is
examined as a building with its operational characteristics and also according to its information and activity: from the classical serial
narration to the creation of different and multiple routes varying from the ‘real’ to the ‘hybrid virtual’ space where the real object
and the virtual reality co-exist.
Such an initiative is proposed for the new local archaeological museum in the archaeological site of Mycenae. Mycenae was the
biggest centre of Prehistoric Hellenism during the second millennium BC. Now it is one of the most important archaeological sites at
global level. It is worth noticing that only the ruins of building foundations have survived through centuries in situ and moreover
most of the significant finds and gold masterpieces are exhibited in other central museums thus diminishing the amount of artifacts
of the local museum to ceramic items only. Therefore there is a great potential for implementing the new museum concept using
digital recording and visualization techniques for an integrated functioning of the archaeological site and the neighbouring local
museum. A proposal for using digital photogrammetric techniques (for the processing and the 3D stereoscopic visualization of the
existing monuments and the data of the destroyed monuments derived from old photos or plans) together with terrestrial laser
scanning data of complicated artifacts and the implementation of an archaeological Spatial Information System (SIS) containing
text, vector, raster, video and image data, is given.
The use of new technologies in museum design and in applying
new ways for exhibiting the finds is becoming an important
issue among museum professionals. The development of new
tools for an analog or digital demonstration of the artifacts, the
possibility of having the museum visitors moving within a real,
virtual or mixed reality environment (i.e. Hall et al 2001;
Sticker et al 2001), and the ever increasing use of the Web are a
real challenge for modem museums, and at the same time they
generate essential questions regarding not only the practice of
museology but the general operation of the museum as well.
According to the definition given by ICOM, “a museum is a
non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of the
society and of its development, and open to the public, which
acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for
purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence
of people and their environment”. Under this concept, the
influence of the rapidly developing techniques in computer
graphics, visualization and animation can be very significant; it
has already resulted in the creation of virtual museums on the
Web with virtual walking routes along still existing or lost
worlds with automatic sightseeing in archaeological collections,
etc (for example see: www.virtualfreesites.com/museums.html,
/mw2003/, //mpiro.ime.gr, or at the proceedings of the annual
conferences of‘Museums and the Web’, VAST,CAST).
Yet, if we stay at the concept
of a real museum and
especially at the archaeo
logical one, we have to
admit that it is significantly
influenced by the new
technologies and the new
architectural trends about
In such an environment the
museum should emphasize
its distinguished nature as a
place where material culture
Figure 1. Architecture is no .
. ~ , ... is preserved and which oners
longer fixed or static , , ,
, . , . ,> alternative experiences based
iwww.oosterhuis.nl i , ... _ „
on the participation of all
senses. The geometrical recording of sites and finds, especially
by using photogrammetric procedures and laser scanning, have
contributed to the transformation of the traditional museum and
to a new definition of its relationship with space and visitors.
Recent technological achievements tend to replace the classic
anthropocentric way of representing and memorializing cultural
heritage. Very frequently a lack of clear exhibition program and