Welcome to the project
This website is dedicated to our Crystal Palace Project, which investigates the role of historical reconstruction in helping audiences imagine and engage with the past. We are particularly interested in contrasting the opportunities and effects of immersive techniques developed in the Victorian period with those afforded by today’s digital visualisations. The main element of our project is a recreation of a small section of the giant Crystal Palace built in Sydenham in 1854: the so-called Pompeian Court was a complete life-size model of an ancient Roman house, housing a collection of copies of Roman paintings. The house and the paintings were based on the ruins preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in the Roman town of Pompeii. It was destroyed when the Palace burnt down in 1936. Phase 1 of our project was funded by JISC and involved building a virtual 3D model of the Court in Second Life, which housed a digitised collection of the material that was in it.
Having built and trialled the model with various user groups, we have recently completed Phase 2 of the project. Supported by the University of Bristol’s Impact Development Fund, we have been concentrating on making our model more accessible and user-friendly so that we can maximise its usefulness and share the resources we have built up. Our twin focuses are the education and heritage sectors. We started by working with Chantry High School in Ipswich to create a series of learning activities for Year 10 students, working in and around the model, and have now trialled and developed those activities in several Bristol schools. Meanwhile, in order to make the model accessible to the local community and visitors to the park we have created a video installation for the Crystal Palace Museum.
On this site you can find out about both phases of the project through the relevant web pages and track our progress through our two blogs (see links on the right). As our project is all about sharing ideas and knowledge we’re always very glad to receive any comments or feedback, so please do get in touch by leaving a comment below.
Nic and Shelley (Lucien & Gwendoline)