(KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Physical heritage objects and assets are related to a vast amount of digital information varying from simple, factual aspects to more complex qualitative and tacit qualities and values. This qualitative information is challenging to be communicated to visitors in understandable and engaging ways. Recent technological advances promise new opportunities to more tightly merge the digital with the physical world. This paper therefore investigates how tangible interaction can enable the communication of heritage information to lay visitors; the integration of digital technology ‘into’ physical reality, as a potential medium for more enriched and playful communication of heritage values and qualities. Through a comparative, field study in a real-world museum context (Fig. 1), we examined how the tangible characteristics of an interactive prototype museum installation influence how visitors perceive a particular story. The communicated story relates a historical journey in ancient Egypt to the physical and architectural characteristics of the entrance colonnade at the Djoser Complex in Saqqara. The findings indicate how tangible interaction is able to engage museum visitors more to accomplish additional efforts, facilitating a vivid understanding of cultural values and architectural qualities of built heritage.