According to Haapalainen, the implementation has not been as successful as was
expected, perhaps due to organisational upheavals in the gallery which took place while
the program was in development, leading to difficulties with workflow and communica-
tions between departments.The anticipated benefits, however, were achieved among the
museum visitors, and their feedback, particularly that concerning the interfaces and con-
tent delivery, has been extremely positive.
Amongst the risks, which were to some extent anticipated, were the lack of sufficient
and continuous funding.This caused problems due to the relatively high expenses
incurred in creating multimedia applications and simultaneously developing innovative
and accessible features.
The organisational changes, which have put the existence and development of the
program at risk, were not anticipated to have the consequences they did. Another diffi-
culty has been the grater number of computer break downs than forecast taking longer
to fix than anticipated.
Case Study Case Study VI The SHAPE Project
Nottingham Castle is one of Nottingham, England's most popular tourist destinations.
In July 2002, the castle invited its visitors to combine their exploration of it with testing
some new and innovative computer displays, designed to complement the exploration
and enchancing their understanding of this historical venue.
The experiment took the form of a quest or `history hunt', made possible with the
research and development of the SHAPE project, a part of the European Union's
Disappearing Computer Initiative.
SHAPE, or Situating Hybrid Assemblies in Public
Environments, is a European Commission-funded project concerned with using hybrid
reality and embedded or subsumed forms of computing to enhance interpersonal inter-
action in public places. Cultural heritage institutions such as museums and galleries, with
their large and diverse visitor communities, are natural candidates for the development,
testing and application of these new technologies.
The SHAPE consortium has four partners: the Centre for User-Oriented IT-Design at
the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, the Mixed Reality Laboratory at the
University of Nottingham, the Work Interaction and Technology Research Group at
King's College London, and the Interaction Design Centre, University of Limerick in
Ireland. Several museums from across Europe
have taken part in the project, providing
the conditions for three `Living Exhibitions' which demonstrate the SHAPE mixed-reali-
ty installations to ordinary visitors.
The technology used in the Living Exhibitions had to offer an environment which
would mix the physical setting with digital information for the purpose of enhancing the
interaction of the visitor, both with the exhibition, providing numerous and innovative
learning channels, and with visitors by improving collaborative understanding, and con-
tributing to more enjoyable shared experiences.
The project team developed a hybrid reality scenario based on archaeology, offering
the educational and interactive benefit that participants feel part of a special community
This case study is based upon material from the Webpages of the SHAPE project, `Situating Hybrid
Assemblies in Public Environments', http://www.shape-dc.org/ visited on 28/01/03.
100 The Technical Museum in Stockholm, the Ducal Palace at Nottingham Castle,
and the Hunt Museum in Limerick.