Government unveils £5m ‘Museums in the Metaverse’ project

Technology initiative led the University of Glasgow aims to allow visitors to access a greater proportion of museums’ collection, while curators can tell stories by uniting items separated by geography

A government-backed Museums in the Metaverse project aims to provide an extended reality platform allowing users online access to cultural sites across Scotland.

Funded by Innovate UK – a public body created by government to serve as the UK’s “national innovation agency” – the £5.6m project will also offer curators the opportunity to use virtual reality tools to build content and tell stories by combining objects stored across the world.

With more than 90% of a museum’s collection typically kept in storage, the project hopes to enable virtual visitors to engage with a greater volume of artworks and objects than would be possible physically.

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The project will see the university partner with immersive technology firm Edify, and public bodies Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and National Museums Scotland. The initiative hopes to explore models which support sustainable economic and cultural growth.

David Mitchell, director of cultural assets at HES, added: “Scotland has pioneered digital applications in the cultural heritage sphere and this project will continue to build on this. This project will help to augment the physical experience through technology but will enable a different type of interaction with our cultural heritage in the future.”

Scotland is home to more than 500 museums – less than half of which are accessible free of charge.

Sofia Villegas and PublicTechnology staff

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