You may have spotted in the news that the University of Edinburgh and Luma 3D Ltd have gotten together to create something awesome – a virtual tour of the Edinburgh Anatomical Museum available in app form and it is FREE! It opens up the museum and Old Medical School Building that are not usually accessible to the public, giving the chance to explore the collection without leaving your house.
It seems a bit of a contradiction to create a virtual tour of a museum in which, as a real rather than virtual visitor, you are not permitted to take photos in. However, increasing access in this way means that the collection can be viewed by people all around the world. Accessibility to what is predominantly a teaching collection would appear to out weight the potentially sensitive nature of this collection.
Boasting a 360 degree view of each space and the ability to zoom in for closer inspections of objects, the rarely seen collection is well and truly brought into the digital age.
The detail of the museum is captured is incredibly. You can focus on key exhibition pieces, such as the skeleton of William Burke, or a number of life masks. Or you can guide yourself around the spaces. Alternatively there is the option to have a tour, which guides you around the rooms discussing key collection pieces in a lovely Scottish lilt. The tour has the nice touch of transporting you slowly around the space focusing on the objects being talked about while slightly blurring those that are not being mentioned.
My personal favourite room is the Artist’s room, a light filled studio which gives the impression that the room has just been left half way through anatomy drawing session.
As much as I enjoy exploring a museum from the comfort of my own sofa, nothing really replaces an actual visit for me. However, this virtual tour has fuelled my desire to go and see the museum in real life. The collection looks incredible and the old fashioned display cases give the impression that you are stepping back in time, not just into virtual reality.
Available for both iOS and Android devices try the virtual tour of the Edinburgh Anatomical Museum yourself. I initially attempted to download it onto my old phone, which didn’t have enough space or up to date software, I then tried a mac laptop which couldn’t support it and finally an android phone. It was well worth the hassle.