Scan of Egyptian cat sculpture

Museums of the North West Photogrammetry Hub

This project aims to develop the digital and digital engagement skills of professionals and volunteers in museums across the northwest of the UK.

Regional museums are regularly among the first to be hit by spending cuts amid economic fluctuations (the 2020 pandemic has shown the threats to these intuitions in terms of job cuts and closures). Keeping these museums alive and open for the public to engage with is vital not just to ensure our history is accessible and there to be interacted with, so it can inspire future generations.  

Unfortunately, many lack the investment required to keep their exhibitions and displays open let alone up-to-date with the latest digital methods. Digital engagement, in an increasingly digital world, provides a new medium by which museums can reach more people than ever before. Through digital media museums can encourage people to explore parts of their collections and whet their audience’s appetite to inspire people to come to the museum in person.

The creation of digital 3D models can often allow for museum objects to be interacted with and explored in new ways that may not have previously been possible. It also allows objects that are not on display to be seen for perhaps the first time since their discovery, in this way a small museum can be augmented to present much more material than its display cabinets can hold.

These new and exciting ways of engaging with artefacts encourages interaction and interest in museum collections. With this goal in mind, the University of Liverpool’s Photogrammetry Team and the Garstang Museum are working together in order to bring these technologies to our collaborative partner museums.

The Photogrammetry Team has developed and perfected efficient methods for the digital recording of museum collections and objects of cultural heritage importance. We now want to share this expertise with others in order to increase digital archiving efforts and raise the quality of this digital record.

While basic photogrammetry can be conducted with minimal and non-specialist equipment (a camera phone can even be used!), to maximise model quality for archival purposes requires taking large numbers of photographs using high-spec camera equipment which can only be processed on high performance computers. 

The North West Photogrammetry Hub aims to provide the training and computer infrastructure currently based in the Garstang Museum of Archaeology to help regional museums that would otherwise be unable to have access to such computer equipment. This project aims to demystify the photogrammetry method for museum professionals and will open up new avenues for exploring the past for not only the wider public audience but also research and conservation.

The Museums of the North West Photogrammetry Hub is funded by an Art Fund ‘Respond and reimagine’ grant and its foundation has also been generously supported by the Horsfall Endowment and Kristen Suenson-Taylor, an alumna of the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology.

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