Author Topic: Interest in virtual heritage?  (Read 1346 times)

Offline Fraternal Writer

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Interest in virtual heritage?
« on: April 23, 2007, 09:58:22 AM »
I notice that there is a Victorian village in Second Life where avatars wear nineteenth-century garb and participate in role play. Other heritage sites in Second Life animate paintings or aim to provide bodily and mental experiences that many people would not have in their daily lives. There is an immersive experience in Egyptian culture and a recreation of the Globe Theatre and, around Second Life in general, numerous other virtual heritage artefacts. In September 2006 virtual museum avatars held the first meeting of the Museums in Second Life group.

I have also noticed that many museums and heritage sites provide reasons for visitors to go online before, after or during their visit or encourage visitors to use PDAs as a means of interacting with the displays.

I want to assess that which constitutes ‘heritage’ through an examination of virtual heritage and ‘heritage’ in SL. This is different to heritage in RL for at least three reasons:

1/ Virtual castles monuments and other constructions perform different purposes in Second Life to real life material artefacts.

2/ Although virtual heritage does not decay in the same way as physical artefacts, there are nevertheless issues to consider about the future-proofing of archives of emails, websites and other virtual ephemera. The notion of a conserved, authentic ‘heritage object’ has changed.

3/ Access is different. We can examine virtual versions of often inaccessible locations, such as a Freemason’s lodge. Furthermore, the most successful digital-works preservation projects are those which encourage widespread distribution. For example video games from the 1980s and pornography are preserved because of successful networks. How far does virtual heritage invert the convention of the heritage industries, that preservation should be controlled by skilled professionals because on the Internet, moving and storing data is cheap and easy, the preservationists are amateurs and open source, publicly documented formats and software, aid preservation?

It might also help us to better understand how historians construct images of the past based on their perceptions and why many stories can be told about a single heritage artefact by seeing the past in terms of the virtual. Perhaps the ways in which preferred discourses about nostalgia, identity, invented tradition and the rise of leisure can be disrupted and examined in fresh ways when observed from within a virtual world?

Whty not post your views about any of this?

Offline PeterT

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Re: Interest in virtual heritage?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 10:27:40 AM »
Welcome to the schome community Fraternal Writer - some of the things you raise are very close to my heart, for example I struggle continuously with notions of what should be preserved about schome's heritage (history in the making - 'invented tradition'   ::) ) and how best to do that ... (maybe that is not quite what you had in mind  ??? )

Seriously, we are just starting to think about how we might redevelop SchomeBase (our island in the Main Grid of Second Life) and are in the process of expanding the community on Schome Park (our island in the Teen Grid of Second Life). There would be opportunities in both cases for us to work with you on exploring some of the fascinating issues you have raised (indeed the existing archaeology strand within Schome Park is already touching on some of these issues though there is scope to significantly extend them).

There are at least two pages on 'heritage' in the schome community wiki:

Very much looking forward to working with you to develop our thinking about heritage ...