Virtual reality representation of Jenner's Dining Room

The Chantry

Throughout the past year we’ve been telling you about our involvement in the REVEAL Project where, amongst many other things, we’ve been carrying out painstaking research to understand the layout and contents of the house at the time of Jenner’s death in 1823 in order to create a 3D virtual reality game.

Ahead of the release of The Chantry on the PlayStation®VR platform later this year, we wanted to show you some of the differences between the rooms now and how we believe they may have looked two hundred years ago using screenshots from the game.

The room we now call the Drawing Room is currently used for exhibitions:

An exhibition room in Dr Jenner's House

In The Chantry it is transformed into Jenner’s Dining Room:

Virtual reality representation of Jenner's Dining Room

© Sheffield Hallam University Enterprises Ltd./The Jenner Trust

An upstairs exhibition room tells the story of the eradication of smallpox:

An modern exhibition room

In The Chantry it is restored to its use as the bedroom of Jenner’s younger son, Robert Fitzhardinge Jenner:

A bedroom recreated in virtual reality

© Sheffield Hallam University Enterprises Ltd./The Jenner Trust

Perhaps most striking of all is the change from museum shop:

A museum shop

To the Breakfast Room, the hub of family life:

A breakfast room recreated in virtual reality

© Sheffield Hallam University Enterprises Ltd./The Jenner Trust

And there’s so much more to discover in the game itself! We are really excited about our involvement in this project as we believe this could be the first time that an historic property has been recreated in a virtual reality game. We hope that it will bring Jenner’s story to life in a new way for people across the world.

We’ll be offering our visitors a chance to try it out very soon and it will also be available on the PlayStation®Store. Please keep checking our website and @DrJennersHouse for more information.

flag_yellow_lowThe REVEAL Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Number 732599.

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REVEAL Project Update

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.

Drawing Room

Early artwork depicting the Drawing Room.

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.

flag_yellow_lowThe REVEAL Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Number 732599.

Help us to uncover the history of Dr Jenner’s House

In 2017 we embarked upon a year of discovery at Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden. As part of the EU-funded REVEAL Project, we are attempting to reconstruct (through the wonders of virtual reality technology) the fabric of The Chantry as it was at the time of Jenner’s death.

The project has already vexed us and challenged everything we thought we knew about the building. Windows and doors have moved, rooms have changed use, staircases have been diverted…! However we are making good progress and look forward to sharing the fruits of our research very soon.

First, we have one significant challenge to overcome. With limited sources and very little of the original fabric of the building remaining we are struggling to identify how Jenner would have decorated his walls. This is where we need your help! We have found three fragments of wallpaper in the house. One hidden behind coat hooks in a downstairs passageway and the other two decorating the former servants’ quarters in the attics. We believe the latter fragments were off-cuts from elsewhere in the house.

We’re very keen to identify these fragments. Most importantly, are they likely to date from Jenner’s time in the house or from later occupants? If they are of the period, do they come from recognisable patterns? And which rooms might they have originally decorated?

If you think you can help us out, or point us in the right direction, please email info@edwardjenner.co.uk. We’d be delighted to hear from you!