A digital restoration of a Melbourne icon

The Digital Woman’s Mural: A virtual Tour was launched at the end of 2019 and has been commended at the 2020 MAPDA awards. It was produced in collaboration with Her Place Museum and the Women’s Mural Documentation Project to help interpret and celebrate the legacy of the iconic Women’s Mural: From Bomboniere to Barbed Wire in Melbourne’s north. Through the bespoke platform, we were able to digitally restore the mural and examine community attachments to this important piece of street art. While the mural has been subsequently demolished, the Digital Woman’s Mural provides an ongoing resource for people to enjoy the art and stories that made the site so iconic. Funding for the project was generously provided by the Victorian Public Records Office as part of the Local History Grants Program.

Using an archive to celebrate a cultural institution

La Mama: The Biggest Little Theatre in Australia is our latest digital offering as part of the continuing Inhabiting the Archive Project with Melbourne University Digital Studio. The series looks at the “changing function of performance venues of national importance in the cultural ecosystem, revealing shifts in the aesthetic and political priorities of the theatre and dance sector of Melbourne”. Documenting La Mama provided an exciting opportunity for us to trial a new way of combining archival material with cutting edge web technologies and design to present a curated history of the theatre up until the devastating fire in 2018. We’re chuffed to say that the project has received the 2020 Victorian History Award for Digital Story Telling through the Public Records Office of Victoria and the Royal Historical Society.

Making friends in far away places

In June, we were approached by the team at Xpo North to take part in a interview for their online conference focusing on the intersection of the digital with cultural heritage in the context of Scotland in the UK. Our discussion covered how we apply new technologies to tell stories relating to Australia’s history and heritage. It was also an exciting opportunity for us to connect with some like minded colleagues on the other side of the world and share our approach and ideas. Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to come and attend the conference in person in the not too distant future.

New ways to display and archive a collection

As part of our ongoing mission to refine the process of digitally scanning museum collection items, we approached AMCI Labs to see if they were interested in providing us access to their extensive collection. Using photogrammetry, we were able to digitally capture a series of gaming consoles that now provides a detailed photographic record of the collection for the ACMI archives. Using the scans we were also able to create an online platform for the staff and community to examin six of these machines. In reflecting on the project, we put together a post for the ACMI blog that details what was involved and the future uses of the models. You can read the post here.

Experimenting to create something new with something old

We love to experiment at DHA and this year was no different. On top of developing a range of new online platforms we love to try and combine new technologies with everyday collection items to create something new and engaging. One of these experiments was to take a historic map of Mt. Kosciusko and remix it with topographic data of the region to create an accurate, interactive, topographic map in 3D space. Through combining the historic and the modern in this way we hoped to create new interest in the regions history and bring this forgotten collection item to life. Inspiration for the map came from sketchfab guru Tommy Finn and the map was accessed through the National Library of Australia online collection.

Learning about our shared history online

Launched to correspond with the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, WWII at Home: Response, Reflection & Rejuvenation was DHA’s highest profile project of 2020. Using a combination of extensive research, video production, panoramic photography and archival material, the website illustrates the themes of response, reflection, and rejuvenation that emerged from developments during World War II. In producing the website we were lucky enough to collaborate with the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and the Centre for Architecture Victoria | Open House Melbourne. The website was made possible with support from the Victorian Government.

This has only been a small sample of some of the projects we have worked on during the year and with next year looking equally as interesting, we can’t wait!