Mosul Museum restored to former glory in VR
Since Mosul Museum in Iraq was ransacked by a terrorist group back in 2015, virtual reality (VR) specialist Visualise have worked with The Economist and non-profit group Rekrei to recreate experiencing its ancient artefacts in VR. VR users are now able to take a tour of the Mosul museum and enjoy its cultural heritage virtually.
Once home to approximately 2,200 historical pieces gathered from Assyrian, Roman and Islamic archaeological sites since its opening in 1952, Mosul Museum was the second largest museum in Iraq before its destruction last February.
Rekrei (formerly known as ‘Project Mosul’) used crowd-sourced thousands of images from museumgoers around the world and archival data to reconstruct the museum and its destroyed artefacts in to ensure its heritage of the lives on through VR.
Photogrammetry and 3D modelling was used by volunteers to digitally reconstruct artefacts for the ‘RecoVR: Mosul’ experience, allowing headset-owner to take a tour of the museum and see antiquities previously homed in and around the Mosul Museum, narrated by The Economist’s deputy editor, Tom Standage.
‘RecoVR: Mosul’ was founded by archaeology PhD students Matthew Vincent and Chance Coughenour in March 2015. The project debuted back in November 2015 at the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) in Amsterdam. Following the positive reception to the project, The Economist approached Visualise to enhance the experience with photorealistic CG visualisation and build apps for different VR platforms.
Visualise has developed the VR experience for Google Cardboard for Android, an iOS app for use with a Cardboard adaptor, and as 360 videos for YouTube on Facebook. A Gear VR version will also soon be released. The 360-degree YouTube video can be watched here.
VR and AR look to become increasingly integrated with the museum-going experience in the future, as reported by Tim Kridel in the March issue of InAVate.