New digital history exhibition encourages visitors to play with history and launches ‘Museum Late’ in Perth

A ground-breaking new exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery will bring visitors face-to-face with the Pictish past using the latest in gaming and digital technology.

Picts and Pixels, opening on Friday 19th May, will be combined with Museum Late, a foray into late-night museum events made famous in the likes of Berlin, London and Edinburgh.

Visitors can explore the Pict era through virtual reality headsets and interactive stations, including a reconstruction of Moredun Top Hill Fort in Perth as it may have been, which visitors can ‘fly through’ and explore. A real-life archaeological dig is taking place at the Iron Age fort this week.

Visitors can also get hands-on and examine ancient Pictish objects up close through 3-D modelling technology. These include the Inchyra Stone with its cryptic inscriptions and a ‘Celtic’ stone head originally found by two schoolboys in 1965 at the North Muirton end of the North Inch.

Forensic artist Hayley Fisher will be producing a 2-D facial reconstruction of the face of a Pict, using a partial skeleton found in Blair Atholl.

For more traditional fans of heritage and history, items loaned from National Museum of Scotland will feature as part of the exhibition. These include the intricate, ornate silver Aldclune brooch and Clunie brooch and a reconstruction of a Pictish throne.

The exhibition also features important items from Perth Museum’s collection, such as the Inchyra Stone, remains of ancient weapons and the Pittensorn fragment.

A programme of events will accompany the exhibition, which runs until 13th August. These include: digital skills workshops for young people, led by the University of St Andrews, on 3D modelling; VR and virtual tours; plus the return of Game Jam, allowing visitors to road-test games of the future.

Perth Museum and Art Gallery’s first ever Museum Late event – an idea made legendary in bigger cities such as Edinburgh, London and Berlin – will kick off the exhibition on 19th May. As well as a first chance to see and try Picts and Pixels ahead of the rest, there will be live music from Heartland FM’s Weekend Wind Down DJ Simon Duncan and performances from Adventure Circus. Beer is supplied by Perth’s Inveralmond Brewery, with a free first drink on entry.

Picts and Pixels follows the hugely successful Brick City, which saw record visitor numbers to Perth Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition is a collaboration between Culture Perth and Kinross, the University of St Andrews Open Virtual Worlds Research team, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, and Tay Landscape Partnership with support from the Heritage Lottery fund.

Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, which delivers and develops museum and library services across the county, said:

“We’re hugely excited about Picts and Pixels. It’s a ground-breaking exhibition, one that pushes the boundaries of what a museum exhibit is, and it comes hot on the heels of our highly successful Brick City LEGO exhibition. This is sure to be a must-see for locals, and a big draw for out-of-town visitors. Who wouldn’t want to play with history?”

Dr John McCaffery, research fellow with the University of St Andrews’ Open Virtual Worlds Research team, said:

“I think what’s important with this event is it’s not Picts and it’s not a digital exhibition, it’s both. It’s unique because it’s bringing together the historic relics with the latest 3D technology, which will attract people who are interested in the subject matter and the generation who are into the technology. Bringing together these two groups will start important conversations between people.

“Plus, we’re excited to be doing an exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. It’s such a fantastic city and such an elegant space. It was fascinating to spend time in the museum, talking to curators and digitising artefacts.”

For more information and tickets to Museum Late click here. Picts & Pixels runs from May 20th to August 12th. For more information visit http://www.culturepk.org.uk/whats-on/picts-and-pixels/