Historical landmarks digitally narrate their own stories

European research team meSch is collecting historical data to add clever multimedia installations to cultural sites and spaces.

MeSch (Material Encouters with Digital Cultural Heritage) is changing the way we interact with historical landmarks. The EU-funded project involves 12 different partners from six European countries and is head up by Daniela Petrelli – a professor of Interaction Design at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK.

By enhancing existing sites with various forms of digital technology, meSch is creating a unique and personal way of experiencing heritage. According to meSch’s factsheet, “a bespoke application will adapt the content and the behaviour of the object or space to visitors, their social context and the environment”. In other words – imagine a statue that can talk or a narrated stroll through an iconic landscape.

The meSch project is necessary for reconnecting locals with their heritage and for offering tourists a richer understanding of a place’s history and culture. Ultimately, the project combines the efforts of designers, artists and heritage specialists to create intelligent historical landscapes that give dusty information a physical context.

The project is ongoing and involves the participation of design professionals, historians and technological innovators in intensive workshops and experimental prototype testing. This is all in an effort to reach the ultimate goal of developing an easy-to-use DIY toolkit. The kit, meSch explains, will enable “cultural heritage professionals with little technical knowledge to create interactive exhibitions merging digital content with tangible objects”.