Once the second largest museum in the country, the Mosul Museum was destroyed by ISIS fighters last February and its priceless artifacts looted by the terrorist organization. However, the museum has found a new virtual home through a collaboration between Project Mosul and The Economist. Using donated photographs and other media, Project Mosul has created a 3D representation of the museum as it once was, accessible through VR technology.
Using a smartphone and VR headset, visitors to the virtual museum can begin their tour at the door of the museum and experience the exhibits accompanied by video and voiceover narration.
3D scanning has enabled the project to include accurate representations of rooms and exhibits. It’s been noted that the virtual museum experience isn’t quite the same as seeing it in real life, with the resolution of some imaging being lower than visitors might hope for.
The idea of the virtual museum may still be running up against the technical limitations of current virtual reality equipment like the Gear VR, but with the amount of interest in VR technology, it’s likely that such projects in the future will be able to offer a far more immersive and realistic experience to users. Technological issues aside, the really wonderful thing about Project Mosul’s VR recreation of the Mosul Museum is the fact that it exists at all in any form after its destruction last year.
Buildings can be rebuilt and while no amount of virtual reality wizardry can bring back the historic artifacts of the Mosul Museum that were destroyed, at least future generations will still be able to experience these exhibits in some form. Terrorism may have destroyed the Mosul Museum, but technology has allowed the nation of Iraq to retain a part of its cultural heritage.