RETOLD: Going Digital in the Largest Open-Air Museum in Romania

Early Spring 2023, we spent a short week in Sibiu, to discuss going digital with open-air museums. The Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA is one of the largest of this kind of museums in Central and East Europe, counting over 300 houses. The idea of the museum goes back to the end of the 19 th century. Originally they started with installations like for example wind and water mills.

The RETOLD project is in its third year now, so we used the chance to visit Romania and discuss every aspect of documenting, digitising and sharing of the stories of open-air museums. The tools we develop will be available to all open-air museums worldwide.

RETOLD: Report on a Working Prototype

The RETOLD project is beginning to show its first technological results. Through close collaboration between RETOLD partners UAB and Nuwa Digital Media and under leadership from EXARC, a working prototype of our digital documentation tool for open-air museums is being built.

Founded on documentation design by RETOLD partners Museumsdorf Düppel (DE) and Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA (RO) and user experience (UX) research by Nüwa Digital Media Content Production Studios Ltd (IE), the tool is a mobile application designed to help museums capture annual documentation data easily, making it accessible for use within the museums themselves, but also for researchers in the European open-air museum context.

RETOLD Lead Partner visits Albersdorf

Early March, we had the chance to visit the Steinzeitpark Dithmarschen in Schleswig, Germany. Occasion was the official opening of their new museum building, a project which was at least ten years in the making, but it was an excellent opportunity for preparations of the RETOLD meeting which will take place here in Autumn-Winter 2023. EXARC is the lead partner in this cooperation project. This meeting in late 2023 in Dithmarschen is foreseen to be a study meeting where we will discuss progress of the EU project, very important because coming winter we will enter the final year of the project. We visited the possible hotel where RETOLD will stay and looked at all the technicalities of the new museum building as well as the logistics of traveling and where to eat.

Sharing RETOLD Goals with our Visitors, step 2

Over the past three weeks EXARC worked with the three RETOLD museums partners to develop the banners for the second stage of the exhibition, each of the partners is holding at their premises. In 2022 we developed banners which explained the project goals and the partners.

In 2023 it was time to start working on (one of the) the topics, which is Documenting Houses. Each partner selected one house that they either built based on an excavation (archaeological open-air museums) or moved from a different location to preserve (historical open-air museum / skansen). The banners have been prepared in English, but can be translated to a local language if requested.

Digitising a Medieval Village, how Cool is That?

In Berlin, in the Museum Village Düppel, exciting steps are taken. Their village and the surroundings are based on excavation results of a real medieval settlement from around 1200 AD. Can Düppel be digitized? They want to create a digital museum village which can be used in virtual- and augmented reality for education. We can also use digital models to show alternative interpretations of house reconstruction as well as engaging new visitor groups with cultural heritage through virtual and augmented realities.

Results of the Project virt:düppel now on Sketchfab!

RETOLD: Audit on EXARC Reporting, first 2 years

In January 2023 our accountant who will do a final audit / reporting of the project (EXARC part) had a look at the first two project years. We wanted to be sure that the system is clear, that all the files can be found and are properly connected to the reporting form. In this way the work of the audit at the end of the project can be done faster, as he will only need to check the last two years and make a final report. We will only have two months to report the whole project back to the EU, and there is also a Christmas break in between.

RETOLD: Work on the documentation app

The work of the last six months has been focused on the design of a unified database that can accommodate all the data requirements for the project. With the aim of having a standard solution for all the parties we took the CIDOC-CRM specification as the base for structuring the data. CIDOC-CRM is defined as a formal ontology intended to facilitate the integration, mediation and interchange of heterogeneous cultural heritage information and similar information. This ontology tries to inform developers of information systems as a guide to good practice in conceptual modelling, to effectively structure and relate information assets of cultural documentation.

RETOLD: Workshop on Short Video Editing for Open-Air Museums

On 15 September 2022, the museum partners of the RETOLD project met online to participate in a workshop on short video marking and editing for social media, focussing on what works best for (open-air) museums.

Reels for Instagram or short videos for YouTube Short are a quick and easy way to catch the viewers' attention and draw them in to take a closer look at the museum's social media profile.

EXARC member Eva Götting was lending her expertise in the five-hour workshop and provided background information on statistics, the various types of videos and a general plan for scheduling videos to be successful.

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...