Inside the Metallurgist’s Workshop
Developed in collaboration with the Casa del Alabado Museum of Pre-Columbian Art in Quito, Ecuador, Inside the Metallurgist’s Workshop is the first ever virtual reconstruction of a Pre-Columbian Andean smelting workshop. The reconstruction establishes a new tool for Ecuadorian educators teaching indigenous heritage. One of the design challenges navigated in the development process was constructing a critical approach to visualisation, which responded to the problem of building virtual reconstructions of the past using fragmentary evidence. The work combines 3D scans of museum objects (evidence) with hand-drawn elements (hypothesis and interpretation). User-centred design and evaluation methods were deployed in collaboration with local researchers and educators to devise a tool that can have a meaningful impact on their work.
Evaluations with experts revealed the virtual workshop as an effective pedagogical tool that offered inherent advantages compared to ‘static’ learning materials: museum objects are discovered and re-contextualised through interaction, exploration and use, allowing learners to better imagine how they would have been used and to insert themselves in an imagined past world.