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Digital media in museums: Projection system exploits shape of historic room

V&A Museum projection

Digital signage is almost a given in new museums and galleries today, but a recent installation at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum demonstrates how AV technology can also be used to enhance exhibits in older buildings.

For the first exhibition in the museum’s renovated fashion galleries, entitled Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950, a pair of Projectiondesign F32 projectors was positioned to place an image in each of the four alcoves on the space’s upper level.

System design was by Sysco and integration by Electrosonic, while Dataton’s Watchout software was used to fit the images to the shape of the alcoves.

“The exhibition is designed like a kind of huge wedding cake, with the circular display taking its cue from the splendid domed structure overhead,” said Robert Simpson of Electrosonic.

“The items from the V&A’s permanent collection are on the lower level while dresses that have been loaned to the museum temporarily are on the upper one. These alcoves make an unusual and spectacular projection surface, but because they have a compound curvature, we needed to warp each pair of projected images as well as blend them seamlessly together.”

Added Dataton’s marketing director Fredrik Svahnberg: “The museum market has always been a strong one for Watchout when it comes to new-build attractions, but now we are also seeing long-established facilities embracing our technology as a means of exploiting the natural beauty of their traditional architecture.” The V&A was largely built in the second half of the nineteenth century.

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