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Touching the Past in Museums: issues of authenticity and identity for crafted replicas and 3D print facsimiles of rare, perishable and iconic artefacts

Author(s): Linda Hurcombe ; Fiona Pitt ; Alison Sheridan

Year: 2015

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Summary

Traditional museum presentations of rare or fragile archaeological artefacts are dominated by displays behind glass; vision dominates the sensory experience. The emotional connections built by more multisensory engagement with artefacts offer a better appreciation of the ancient objects and an enhanced museum visit. The research focused on icons of identity which were too precious to allow handling and items which were too fragile to touch, such as ancient perishable textiles and basketry.

The modern audience is shifting its expectations from passive viewer to active participant and the project offered ways of adapting to this change using a range of media to connect past and present and overcome the emotional and physical distance between ancient objects and their modern audience. Ideas were drawn from a range of sources and disciplines and installations were developed to deliver a range of touch experiences within a variety of museum and outreach settings. Crafted replicas were used alongside very new technologies such as 3D prints in a series of museum trials. The results showed that visitors had an enriched museum experience using these techniques because interactive and multi-sensory displays using these methods resulted in closer engagement with the ancient objects.

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Touching the Past in Museums: issues of authenticity and identity for crafted replicas and 3D print facsimiles of rare, perishable and iconic artefacts. Linda Hurcombe, Alison Sheridan, Fiona Pitt. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397999)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America