It has now been over a year since we first started working on the REVEAL Project. In this blog post, Owen Gower, our Museum Manager, reflects on what we have learnt about Jenner’s house over the past year.
At the end of December 2017, staff at the museum entered Edward Jenner’s house for the first time in 194 years. Virtually, at least! Since January 2017 we’ve been working with game designers, educators and cultural heritage professionals from across Europe on the REVEAL Project, which has received funding under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. REVEAL aims to explore the use of educational virtual reality games in the cultural heritage sector and Dr Jenner’s House has served as the first case study in the project. After twelve months of closely working with our partners at Sheffield Hallam University, we had our first chance to see a complete and playable game at the end of last year.
The Chantry is a game based around a reconstruction of Jenner’s house at the time of his death in 1823. To achieve this, staff at the museum have spent time going through archival (at the museum and elsewhere) and published sources (style guides and secondary material), and have turned detective looking around the building to find clues of its past use. This has changed our understanding of many of the rooms; the room we now call the Dining Room, for example, was almost certainly Jenner’s Drawing Room (and vice versa). It was great to see the rooms full of furniture in the playable game and feeling like Jenner could walk in at any moment.
We’re looking forward to being able to share The Chantry with our visitors and with gamers worldwide, but in the meantime here’s a snippet of the game for you to enjoy:
You can find out more about the REVEAL Project here. In 2018 we’ll be taking The Chantry on the road and will also be previewing it at the museum. For more details on this and all Dr Jenner’s House happenings, please sign up to our newsletter.
The REVEAL Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Number 732599.