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Smart Replicas – summery of meetup 1 2013

For our first Meetup of 2013 we invited designer Maaike Roozenburg to explain how she combines heritage artifacts and digital technology in a project called Smart Replicas.

First, Maaike gave us a little insight in the way she uses heritage as an inspiration for her design practice. From a museum perspective it was interesting to discover how she approached the objects as a designer. Starting with the tangible object Maaike explores themes such as memory, emotions, usage and wear and tear. These are subjects that museums often find challenging, although more and more museums attempt to incorporate them into their displays.

In some of her projects Maaike changes the shape of the replicated objects to highlight their use or specific features. But for Smart Replicas Maaike aimed to create copies that were not only as detailed as possible, but that also incorporated the blemishes and damage to the original objects. She did this to highlight the fact that the object had not always been inside a glass museum case, but was once handled, used and maybe even dropped.

The Smart Replicas are intended to transfer information to the person holding them and Maaike’s research can be divided in two parts. On the one hand there is the technical side of replication and somehow linking the objects to the digital information. She found that incorporating QR codes in objects that could be read with handheld devices, such as smartphones, was too crude an approach. She then experimented with using the original decoration of the object as a marker for an AR application on a smartphone. This seemed to work very well and is a great example of linking data to an object in an unobtrusive way.

Another part of her research involves exploring the different types of content that can be shared with users and shape this content can take. She is currently exploring the possibilities of sharing historical content through non-text based media. The research is still in progress, updates will be posted on http://smartreplicas....

The audience consisted of people with backgrounds in digital media, museums, heritage and libraries and initially the discussion and questions focused on on-gallery use. How could a smart object be used in a museum context? Could it guide people through the museum, or trigger certain information based in the way it’s used? Maaike’s main interest, however, is bringing these precious objects back into everyday lives. She envisages the objects (her main focus momentarily lies on 7 cups and saucers) being taken from the museum and into the home where they can continue being used in the same way the original objects were used. In this context mapping and sharing the user’s story might be interesting, bridging the gap between past and present.

More of Maaikes work can be found at http://www.maaikerooz...
The Smart Replica project is currently a collaboration with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (http://www.boijmans.n...) and was made possible by Stichting Doen.

The integration of tangible objects and digital media was of particular interest to us at the Allard Pierson Museum, because we recently started work on a European research project called meSch: Material EncounterS with digital Cultural Heritage. As part of a consortium spanning 7 countries we will be exploring ways in which museum and heritage professionals can use smart objects as a tool for audience engagement with rich and layered content. Other Dutch partners on the project are Waag Society (, DEN ( and Museon ( For more information on the project go to http://mesch-project.....

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Virtual Museum Field Trip: Family Friendly apps September 3, 2014 2:55 PM Merel van der V.
Virtual and Smart Replicas – How to use them? June 2, 2014 4:32 PM Merel van der V.
Using Augmented Reality in the Museum April 22, 2014 2:35 PM Merel van der V.
Mobile Object Recognition and Pilot Launch February 6, 2014 3:02 PM Merel van der V.
Museum Analytics - report on November Meetup November 22, 2013 12:07 PM Merel van der V.
Linking virtual and real summary of Meetup 2 2013 April 22, 2013 10:55 AM Merel van der V.
Smart Replicas – summery of meetup 1 2013 April 28, 2014 11:19 AM Merel van der V.
About Digital Museum Network Amsterdam June 18, 2016 1:52 PM Wim H.

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