RETOLD 2020-2024 (Creative Europe)

What it is about

Documentation | Digitisation | Sharing
The RETOLD project will ensure that open-air museums can continue telling important cultural heritage stories to a diverse public by developing a standardised workflow to collect, digitise, and share data on buildings, crafts, and traditions. These data will be stored in an open access format so that museum professionals, researchers, and the public can access and use them freely. This will ensure better quality research through more comparable data, the preservation of tacit cultural heritage knowledge, and opportunities for more engaging and impactful story-telling about cultural heritage to the general public.

Open-air museums are vast repositories of cultural heritage data, which are currently located in archival records, photos, video, and the minds of museum staff and volunteers. There is a real risk that without a standardised process for capturing and storing this data, it will be lost forever. Open-air museums are process and action-oriented, rather than artefact oriented. Therefore, the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, that revolves around events and processes (as opposed to objects), will be used. The standardised workflows created by this project will be shared in an open access form on multiple platforms, and open-air museums will be actively encouraged to adopt them.

The RETOLD project will thus create open access knowledge transfer to a new generation of museum professionals, researchers, and the public. This represents an important opportunity for open-air museums to fully leverage the new possibilities of digital technologies, social media and online communities in widely disseminating cultural heritage data. The end result will be enhanced cooperation between historical and archaeological open-air museums and other cultural heritage specialists, a strengthening of the research and interpretation framework of open-air museums, and ultimately the long-term sustainability of open-air museums as guardians of cultural heritage. 

The RETOLD partners are: EXARC Coordinator; Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (ES)Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA (RO)Steinzeitpark Dithmarschen (DE)Nüwa Digital Media Content Production Studios Ltd (IE) and Museumsdorf Düppel (DE)

Work Packages

Work Package 1 Management of the Project
Work Package 2 Documentation Instruments & Strategies
Work Package 3 Immersive Media & 3D Storytelling
Work Package 4 Case Studies & Rollout
Work Package 5 Dissemination and Exploitation of Results

Deliverables and planned Actions

Title What Author / Responsible for Project Year
1. Prototype for immersive digital storytelling Website: Online Tool Nüwa Digital Media Content Production Studios Ltd (IE) and the three Museum Partners RETOLD 2022-2024
  a. Research on documentations methods and needs Online / Emails / meetings Museumsdorf Düppel (DE) and Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA (RO) RETOLD 2022-2023
  b. Documentation App Online Tool Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (ES) and Nüwa Digital Media Content Production Studios Ltd (IE) RETOLD 2022-2024
  c. Workshops Immersive Media & 3D Storytelling at Museum Partners Training Nüwa Digital Media Content Production Studios Ltd (IE), Steinzeitpark Dithmarschen (DE), Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA (RO), Museumsdorf Düppel (DE) RETOLD 2023-2024
2. Platform with Case Studies & Roll out (database) Website: Online Tool EXARC, Nüwa Digital Media Content Production Studios Ltd (IE) RETOLD 2023-2024
3. WhiteBook for roll out to other museums Website: Online Tool / Print Manual EXARC and Museumsdorf Düppel (DE) with help of all the partners RETOLD 2023-2024
4. Vlogging and trainings
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Training Museumsdorf Düppel (DE) RETOLD 2021-2024
5. Articles in the EXARC Journal Website / Print EXARC with help of all the partners RETOLD 2021-2024
6. Corporate Identity / logo and website (incl. Communication through Social Media)
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Internet / Website EXARC RETOLD 2020-2024
7. Presentation at Museum Partners
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Small Exhibition EXARC RETOLD 2022-2024
8. Midterm external Evaluation by a specialist Report EXARC RETOLD 2023
9. Conferences (working meetings) incl bursaries Meeting EXARC, Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA, Steinzeitpark Dithmarschen (DE), Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (ES) RETOLD 2022-2024

RETOLD Meetings and Workshops

March 2023: Retold Meeting at ASTRA Museum (RO)

The second meeting of the RETOLD project will take place in Sibiu, Romania. Most of the meeting is not open to outsiders. The project entered its third and semi-final year and we will take stock of progress in developing our tools for documenting, digitising and sharing of the information and stories of our museums..

June 2022: Retold Meeting at UAB, Barcelona (ES)

The RETOLD project is now almost 18 months active, and we have not met in person yet! The previous meeting at ASTRA in Rumania was postponed due to COVID-19 but in June we are going to UAB in Barcelona. During this first RETOLD meeting in person, we are going to introduce the project to a wider public of specialists and students...

October 2021: RETOLD online meeting

Co-organised by

Even though we would have loved to meet in person, due to the still ongoing pandemic, we decided to host our first conference online. The plan was to meet at Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA, and we hope to go there in October 2022. Instead we met online during three following days to discuss the progress and next steps.

Featured Articles

RETOLD: On the Way for a Digital Future of Documentation in Open-air Museums – User Requirements for Data Entry and a Management Product for the RETOLD-Project

Cordula Hansen
Rüdiger Kelm
Publication Date
As part of the RETOLD project, which runs from 2020 until 2024 and is funded by the Creative Europe Programme, Nüwa Digital Media Production Studios (Ireland) in collaboration with the Archaeological-Ecological Centre Albersdorf (AÖZA, Germany) have carried out a year-long user research project for a future digital tool, that will enable open-air museums to collect and manage data...

RETOLD: Open-air Museum Mobile Applications UX Report - Looking for Inspiration

Pau Sanchis Rota
Publication Date
This article presents the methodology and results of the report on Open-air Museums Mobile Apps, developed by the RETOLD Project in October 2021. From the analysis of a sample composed by 15 Open-air Museums mobile applications, three models for Open-air museums mobile apps are proposed according to different visit experiences...

RETOLD: Initial Survey to Capture Current State of Digital Tech in Open-Air Museums

Cordula Hansen
Rüdiger Kelm
Publication Date
The motivation and purpose of the RETOLD project is to capture and preserve the wealth of data from evidence informing building reconstructions and craft processes of open-air museums. Additionally, the project seeks to develop and use alternative formats of oral histories as a way of share intangible cultural heritage with a wide audience. From an artistic point of view, immersive media are to...

RETOLD: Documenting House (Re)constructions – An Excerpt of European Approaches

Julia Heeb
George Tomegea
Publication Date
As part of the EU project RETOLD, the Stadtmuseum Berlin in Germany is responsible for creating standardised documentation strategies for archaeological house models and evaluating them by engaging with the open-air museums of Astra in Romania and the Steinzeitpark Dithmarschen in Germany. In order to start creating these workflows, as a first step, other open-air museum were approached ...

RETOLD: A European Project Digitises Memories of Experimental Archaeology for Their Preservation

Paloma González Marcén
Clara Masriera Esquerra
Publication Date
The origins of the European RETOLD project, led by the international association EXARC, lie in a concern to preserve the heritage generated by archaeological open-air museums through the creation of a standardised system for collecting, digitising and disseminating knowledge (memories) of the processes of building reconstruction and handcrafted objects. The project has a duration of four years ...

Approaches to the Documentation of Houses in Open-Air Museums

Enrico Lehnhardt
Stefan Solleder
Publication Date
The seminar was divided into two parts. One group professionally documented the long-term experiment “House 1” in the Museums Village Düppel for the first time. The house was built in the 1970s and left to decay in 1990. The area was freed from vegetation and photographed at regular intervals. The second group reflected on the continuous documentation of reconstructed houses in archaeological...

Discussion: The Concept of Authenticity in Collections of Open-Air Museums

Joerie van Sister
Marc van Hasselt
Thit Birk Petersen
Lara Comis
Maura Stefani
David Freeman
Sverre Christoffer Guldberg
Randi Stoltz
Henrik Zipsane
Léontine Meijer-van Mensch
Martin Schmidt
John Ertl
Thomas Bloch Ravn
Nigel Copsey
Publication Date

How is it possible that if you go into an arts museum, the ceramics you see may be made yesterday and may be a valued and legitimate part of the museum collection, while in open-air museums, a similar object ...