October 13, 2023

University of Glasgow Leads Metaverse Project To Enable Visiting Museums across UK

Metaverse in UK

Metaverse in UK

The University of Glasgow (UoG) announced it would lead the Museums in the Metaverse project, an extended reality platform that enables online access to cultural sites across the UK. 

Innovate UK funds the project and provides a unique opportunity for curators to use virtual reality tools to create compelling stories by combining objects from around the world.

Minister of State at the UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology George Freeman said: “This £5.6m investment through our Innovation Accelerator program is helping the University of Glasgow to build on its reputation for extended reality research, while in turn boosting opportunities for learners and curators and promoting UK innovation and culture around the world.”

The initiative aims to support sustainable economic and cultural growth by partnering the university with the immersive technology platform Edify, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and National Museums Scotland. 

David Mitchell, Director of Cultural Assets at HES, stated that Scotland has pioneered digital applications in the cultural heritage sphere, and this project will continue to build on that. By using technology, this project will enhance visitors’ physical experience while enabling a different type of interaction with our cultural heritage in the future. 

Neil McDonnell, Programme Leader at the UoG, believes that virtual museums will not replace the experience of visiting museums but rather enhance it, making multiple sites accessible to all. 

The platform also aims to address constraints like the limits on objects that can be displayed in museums. According to McDonnell, more than 90% of collections must remain in storage, and this project will help bring them to life.

According to McDonnell, using the technology has been difficult due to challenges such as high costs for creating virtual environments and a shortage of technical skills needed to generate 3D content. There are over 500 museums in Scotland, but less than 50% are free to visit.

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