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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

CIP A 2003 XIX 1 ' 1 International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalya, Turkey
a common tactic is noticed, when mounting an exhibition and
presenting it to the public.
The relationship between the exhibit, the space and the
commissioner of the exhibition appeared an issue of conflicting
approaches (Fox 1998), a relationship which recently seems to
have been redefined on the conceptual level. Nowadays exhibits
and space must co-exist in a uniform composition, which
demonstrates the uniqueness of an integrated work. The most
crucial issue is the importance of the narrative character the
exhibition should provide in space, at a time when the classic
narrative plot is considered to be passée, if not superfluous.
There is a need for a critical approach in organizing an
There are multiple reasons for introducing new additional
elements, at all levels, into the museum and thus redefining its
role, which make the adoption of Information Technology a
critical need. Examples of such reasons could be:
• Operational purposes for the creation of better tour paths
and the separation of the museum’s functions.
• Educational purposes for better understanding and
information sharing; exhibitions should be arranged in such
a way that the visitor would have both conceptual and
emotional contact and derive information that he/she will
refer to in the future
• Communication purposes. The visitor should be close to the
ancient artifacts and should experience the excitement of
the discovery exactly like the excavator did at the moment
of its finding.
• Updating purposes. The museum must keep up with the
developments in all human activities in general (multimedia
have been introduced in all stages of every day life: i.e.
education, job, health, public life, entertainment, art,
communication); for example, for a continuous enrichment
and updating of the museum material. The creation of
parallel tour paths in the museum space defines different
levels of information interpretation.
A typical example of introducing IT is the extension of the
museum into the Web. Most of the museums have a Web site.
Yet, in most cases this “mirrors” the traditional idea about the
way a museum should be promoted and how the museum uses
the new technology. Frequently, the Web site takes after the
paper information leaflets, the maps and the sightseeing guides.
Obviously there are some bright exceptions to that, where the
Web site also includes an extension of the exhibition by using
IT tools.
Museums have, for a long time, been considered as places that
objects were kept and protected for conservation, exhibition and
research purposes. Now they can be transformed into places of
knowledge, information sharing and interactive communication
(Spiller et al 1995), and acquire more flexibility. A museum
should be constructed as a shell to host not one particular
exhibition but any kind of possible exhibits. The usual “limited
available space/area” problem can be solved by a combination
of “real” and “virtual space”. The possibility to have all the
existing collections in digital form overcomes the necessity of
keeping all these finds stored in the museum and actually
changes the ‘space’ with a data base that can be accessed by all
visitors. Thus the simultaneous exposure of all finds is not all
that important. Each time different pieces of the collections can
be presented in relation to other objects of the museum or of
other museums, which are in digital form, each time making the
best combination.
The tour path through the
museum becomes more
personal and more dynamic
and it obtains an educational
purpose. The visitor should be
given the possibility to
experience the enthusiasm of
excavation by making his/her
own choices. For this purpose
virtual reality rooms should be
planned, where the visitors
would be able to ‘walk’ through the area as it was before and
after the excavation. This room then becomes a live cultural
cell. The visitor is offered a variety of tour paths according to
his/her questions leading to the answers (Holtzman 1994). A
stable core for presentations is provided through small
amphitheatres, computer rooms, digital library and convertible.
In order to implement the above mentioned “new museum
concept” it is necessary to use the advanced technological tools
for geometric recording of monuments and the computer
graphics in tune with the museum puipose and its development.
The existence of many archaeological sites all over the Hellenic
jurisdiction led to the parallel establishment and operation of a
large number of local archaeological museums, which are
hosting the artifacts of archaeological excavations. So, in
Greece, the need for creating virtual museums on the Web is
less than the need for inventing methods to emphasize and show
the archaeological site’s importance itself and the need to show
the progress of the archaeological excavations through the
visitors’ path in a real museum.
The overloading of a local and relatively small museum with
various numerous modem technological tools may have the
same negative effect as the overexposure of numerous artifacts
in a traditional museum; it does not help too much the
information and knowledge sharing. The average visitor may be
usually a tourist without any particular interest in information
technology and digital tools. Consequently he/she acts more as
a passive receiver of optical or audio information and especially
user-friendly interactive operations. So, we have to propose an
incremental mode in inserting technological tools to the
operation of a local museum, such as:
• Screens with a predefined video projection, which can
include information like text, photos, images or short
movies from the excavation operations, etc.
• High brightness touch screen, located outside or inside the
museum, with multi media presentation for personal use of
individuals or for the use of small groups of visitors
• Spatial Information System for the archaeological site or
some of its most important parts, which will contain
historic, archaeological, architectural and technical
information. It has a set of tools, not only for visualization,
but also for querying by visitors/users, which would like to
know more information about the artifacts or some parts of
the site (Cosmas et al 2001; Ioannidis et al 2002)
Figure 2. Application of
cyberspace in exhibitions