Explore Cliffe Castle with 21st Century Technology

We asked our new Community Engagements and Events intern, Lucy to write this blog, and give you an insight into what she’s currently involved with….

She writes:

Hello, I’m the new Community Engagement and Events Intern at Bradford Museums and Galleries. I’ve only been here the sum of three whole weeks but already I’ve been given an exciting project to take the lead on. My task is to share the great news with all our visitors new and old that we are launching an immersive virtual reality tour of Cliffe Castle.

The home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer, Henry Isaac Butterfield, has been meticulously scanned and brought to life in a digital immersive environment.

At Cliffe Castle on the 10th December, alongside the many other things to see at our Christmas event you’ll be able to take a virtual walk around the museum and explore areas that aren’t always easily accessible to visitors. Viewers can discover new facts about the collection by finding interactive tags attached to objects throughout the virtual museum.

A still taken from the VR tour
A still taken from the Virtual Reality tour

The VR tour company CONVERTS, who have scanned a number of Yorkshire museums and institutions, will also be on hand to tell you how they created the tour.

But if you don’t fancy leaving your house this cold December, you could take a tour from your living room. All you require is a simple Google cardboard headset and a modern smartphone to download the experience. Or alternatively you can view the 2D experience on a computer or modern tablet.

This is a picture of me modelling a Google cardboard headset, during a photo-shoot for our marketing. They’re very easy to assemble and use, I would describe the headsets as flat pack cardboard with Velcro fastenings.

Lucy modelling the VR headset
Lucy modelling the VR headset

Our new virtual reality tour is accessible for all. People who are unable to visit the museum can explore Cliffe Castle from the comfort of their own home. The VR tour will allow us to go out into the community and take the whole museum with us. I’m very excited about the potential of having a resource that provides inclusive access to collections, I am hoping to harness the VR experience across dementia cafes, schools and community groups that struggle to access the museum. As we move forward, I will be researching technology that can advance the accessibility of museums for all visitors.

Alongside the VR launch, Salma our Technical Assistant Trainee will be showcasing 3D printing processes that she is using to recreate objects from in-accessible collections that are too fragile to handle. Check back to hear more about this from Salma in the next blog!

After the launch of our VR Tour at Cliffe Castle on the 10th December, the experience will be made available to use at home.  (Editor’s note –  Now it’s live, here’s a link to go exploring with…  Do let us know what you think!)

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