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Hats off to Highland Folk Museum for social media idea


By Gavin Musgrove

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Hannes Schnell, of the Highland Folk Museum, tries out the tam o'shanter flter.
Hannes Schnell, of the Highland Folk Museum, tries out the tam o'shanter flter.

For those that have wanted to wear a real piece of history, help is at hand from the Highland Folk Museum.

The open air museum has created two new Instagram and Facebook filters, allowing people to try on two historic bonnets – a classic white cotton mutch, and a green woollen tam o’shanter.

The bonnets are real objects from the museum’s collection that date from around the end of the 19th Century.

Project officer Helen Pickles said: “We wanted to create a fun and engaging way to experience textile objects from our collection, and see what can be achieved with augmented reality (AR) technology.

“The tam o’shanter is a classic Scottish bonnet and the one from our collection was occasionally worn by former curator Ross Noble, and we have some photos of him wearing it at previous events held at the museum.

“The white cotton mutch with ribbon ties is another quintessential Scottish bonnet worn to keep a woman’s hair clean and tidy whilst she went about her jobs on the croft.

“Although we now don’t physically try on the objects in the collection, this new filter will let anyone try on the hats.”

The digital dress up is part of the Folk and Fabric project at the Newtonmore museum, aiming to showcase items from the collections online and offer 360-degree tours of five of the historic buildings.

It is due to launch early next year.

The creation of the filters began by sending the two bonnets to AOC Archaeology in Edinburgh where they were photographed from all angles and then turned into 3D digital models.

These models were then worked on by design agency Dynam, to create the AR filters which make the bonnets appear on the wearer’s head by using a smartphone’s camera.

Ms Pickles said: “We’re delighted with how the filters have turned out, the end results are very convincing, and really do look like you’re wearing an actual bonnet as they keep up with your head movements.

“Our digital projects will give online visitors an insight as to what the museum has to offer, and provide an opportunity to learn more about some of the objects which usually aren’t on display for conservation and preservation reasons.”

To celebrate these very Scottish bonnets, the filters have been launched today on St Andrew’s Day.

The two filters need to be accessed through the Instagram and Facebook phone apps and the museum is encouraging people to share their snaps through social media.

The project has been funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund which is run by the Museums Association, funding projects that develop collections to achieve social impact.


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