Back to the future at UK museums show

In the future museum visitors will be able to explore the full glory of ruined castles as if they were intact, hear with frightening clarity the approach of falling bombs or recreate historic battles through the eyes of the commanders on the ground.

These are some of the concepts explored at the Museums and Heritage Exhibition in London, UK last week, spearheading a sector that seems to be in good financial health and hungry for AV.

“It’s definitely back on the up again and multi-touch tables are the buzz word at the moment,” said Lynn Willrich of integrator DJ Willrich.

Company director Josh Miller added: “There’s more projects in the Middle East being tendered than there were 18 months ago. The immersive experiences are becoming very popular; there’s a real mix of projection and sound with the use of touch screens.”

Electrosonic was fresh from its installation at the Bannockburn Visitor Centre in Scotland, UK, completed in partnership with Bright White. The installation involves 3D theatre and a 270-degree wraparound stereoscopic environment giving visitors an opportunity to relive a historic battle in Scotland.

“There were no real artefacts for this project because they didn’t have any,” explained Simon George from Electrosonic.
“I think in 15 years this is the nicest project I’ve ever done.”

Because of the way museums are funded, with money for purchasing AV equipment rarely available for maintenance of it, George estimated a continued rise in lampless projector sales in this sector.

Over at the Sound Directions stand Morrowsound was presenting its 3D sound solution through its British partners.

As well as large, complicated installations they are carrying out themselves, Sound Directions and Morrowsound have been working on creating a set of off-the shelf modules that don’t require design fees. And the application stretches beyond museums. Morrowsound systems have been installed in hospitals to make them more interesting environments by interspersing mixtures of sounds with the typical machines heard in medical environments.
“It’s a bit like cooking; you can have a soup you can float everything around in and that’s the way sound works in the real world,” explained Morrowsound president Charlie Morrow.
“You have an atmosphere and everything has a sense of place. When we started creating these atmospheres people really recognised where they are – it became very vivid and personal. And all of this can be interactive, of course.”

Over on the Cross Design Group stand, visitors could use Oculus Rift to explore a museum and see the artefacts on display. The US firm aims to bring relics to virtual reality so that items not on show at museums can still be enjoyed by visitors. Historic environments an also be created for them to explore.