Museum unveils interactive window into the past

The Museum of Edinburgh, located on the Royal Mile in a series of 16th and 17th century houses, has unveiled two new interactive exhibits.

Museum curator Vicky Garrington puts the finishing touches to the Earl Haig exhibit
Museum curator Vicky Garrington puts the finishing touches to the Earl Haig exhibit

The City of Edinburgh Council owned and managed Museum has partnered with Edinburgh-based Insurgent Studios to bring the stories behind some of the city’s treasured artefacts to life.

Designed to faithfully recreate historical locations to provide an original addition to the city’s museum collection, the free-to-enter exhibits blend history and technology to enhance the overall enjoyment of a trip to the Museum. 

Visitors can discover the life and times of Edinburgh-born WW1 British Commander Earl Haig, who created The Royal British Legion and raised funds for the welfare of ex-servicemen after the war. A second installation focuses on the Museum’s secret Courtyard which opens to the public for the first time in more than a decade.

The Courtyard has been landscaped with the help of local volunteers and community service workers, and a digital window onto the re-opened Courtyard will allow visitors to view life in the Canongate through the centuries.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport said: “With the exciting addition of these interactive exhibits and the pull of the popular Greyfriars Bobby collection, the Museum of Edinburgh is going to be a must-visit this summer.

“This digital trial is a first for the Council’s museums and galleries service and will be an exciting opportunity to discover how our cultural offering might be able to use new technology to shape our knowledge of the past. Appealing to visitors of all ages, the hands-on experience will allow anyone with an interest in Edinburgh’s history to physically connect with some of the Museum’s artefacts.”

Craig Hunter, Managing Director of Insurgent Studios, said: “The Council shares our enthusiasm to use the latest technology to enable the telling of old stories in new ways. We worked carefully to put the visitor at the centre of the experience, allowing them to ‘touch’ the objects we recreated in virtual form, to experience the installations at their own pace and in a variety of languages.

"The visitor is rewarded for engaging closely with the collection by the award of 'achievements' throughout the experience. Our approach to digital conservation allowed us to work with the team at the Council's Museum of Edinburgh to showcase some items from the collections which would not otherwise be on display. We believe that these installations will appeal to everyone by literally putting history at their fingertips.”

Insurgent has also launched a microsite to detail the experience of creating the exhibits and using them. 

Visit the Museum of Edinburgh for free. The Museum is open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm and in August, it is also open on Sundays 12 noon-5pm.

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