Athens1842 - Tap the Time Machine and Explore the City’s Past

“Athens 1842”
Tap the Time Machine and Explore the City’s Past

Interactive Permanent Exhibit at the Athens City Museum
by PostScriptum and Minds&Bytes

The Athens City Museum is housed in a monumental, 19th century neoclassical building, which was the former palace of King Otto from 1836 – 1843 and seat of the new capital of Modern Greece. Commemorating the king’s last year of rule from Athens’ first palace, the Museum commissioned Professor I. Travlos to build a representative physical model of the capital’s historical and architectural landscape of 1842, which became one of the Museum’s most popular exhibits and a favourite visitor’s attraction.

This scale model was incorporated 2014 into an interactive digital ‘time machine’ allowing the visitor to experience the socio-political life of early Athens. Enriched by latest technologies, this ‘phygital’ exhibit, offers an immersive 3-D experience that combines educational information with entertaining visuals to showcase the European influences on architecture and culture, which contributed in shaping the modern Greek cultural heritage. The project merges the intangible and living heritage with the tangible building heritage. The cultural legacy of Hellas spans the ages and is reflected in the country’s glowing architecture and long traditions, which continue to live today.

The digital installation includes three introductory short video films that provide insight into the historical background of Greece and support the “Athens 1842” experience.

How it works:

The 3D interactive installation is located in a specially designed space featuring a digital wall and interactive touch screen, with many options for exploring particular points of interest on the physical model. A visitor chooses to listen to an informative narrative or read from the screen and interact on a touch panel thus activating all his senses. An important, additional feature is the historical background provided by a series of animated videos. The videos cover three significant eras in Greek history, the classical/roman, the byzantine and the early modern periods. The visitor can interact with 3D models of 32 famous monuments and buildings through a range of navigational features. The highly-detailed construction of the 3D models follows the original building specifications, including materials and processes for authentic renderings.

Response so far:

This phygital interactive exhibit facilitates visitor empowerment by letting each person guide the ‘time machine’ and focus on favourite subjects. The audience is excited and highly affected by the experience. Children and adults, locals as well as tourists, are vividly interacting with the installation. Individuals enjoy the unique way history is unveiled in front of their eyes and are actively involved in navigating their own experience.

Moreover the exhibit acts as an incentive to the Museum for conducting ongoing research to find links between the Athens of 1842 and contemporary Athens. The Museum considers to develop its audience and encourage individuals to upload their own content and participate with valuable information. Through this means, “Athens 1842” has the potential to become a crowdsourcing open platform.

The Athens City Museum:

The Athens City Museum presents the modern history of Athens, Europe’s oldest and most famous city, since it became the capital of the newly founded Hellenic State in 1834 under the first royal couple, Otto and Amalia. The Museum exhibits many facets of Athenian history and living culture. Except for the physical model of the Athenian city landscape of 1842. Its collections include a series of typical late 19th century -early 20th century tangible attributes of the Athenian aristocracy.

Concept & Development:

The project is a joint effort development of the Digital Strategy Agency PostScriptum and the 3D visualization agency Minds & Bytes under the supervision and concept design of the Athens City Museum.

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