One of Malta’s most treasured house museums has reinvented the way it does its tours through a state-of-the-art, high tech augmented reality game that turns artefacts into animated objects.
Although an exhibition of the past, the Palazzo Falson is way ahead of its time, becoming the first museum in Malta to integrate an AR game into its exhibit…
…and it’s a thrilling and exciting way to explore everything the house has to offer as well as play a really cool game.
Secrets of Palazzo Falson was launched through a joint partnership between the Vodafone Malta Foundation and Fondazzjoni Partimonju Malti and invites visitors to unlock the mysteries surrounding the fictional death of the game’s lead protagonist, Lady Caterina and it all starts with the downloading of an app on your phone.
Players will be guided by the app around the house to unravel the clues that lead to the dark, love story climactic ending.
Unlike anything ever done in Malta before, the app interacts with real, historical objects collected by the last owner of the palazzo, Capt. Olof Frederick Gollcher, a descendant of a Swedish shipping family business who was an avid collector and a philanthropist. After his death, Olof’s wish was fulfilled when the palazzo was entrusted to Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti to open its doors to the public in 2007.
Players have to collect tokens, clues and hints that will help them along their journey, transforming what would otherwise be a normal museum tour into a fascinating adventure.
“The app is based on AR which means that you can point your smart device at your surroundings and things will pop up on your screen which are not there in real life. You’ll see paintings being animated, characters will talk to you and objects will move,” said Head Programmer, Marvin Zammit.
In addition to being an impressive and innovative way to spice up museum tours, Secrets of Palazzo Falson wields some impressive technology designed by local tech company Mighty Box based on the creative project of game and interaction designer Eleni Papadopoulou after she was inspired by Palazzo Falson and its collections.
“It started a couple of years ago when I wanted to do a project related to a Maltese museum… During the process I learned a lot of stories and legends about the museum, including some ghost stories,” Eleni said in a press release.
Everything from the game’s sound, user-interface, and even voiceovers, creates a fully immersive experience that puts you side by side with the ghost of Lady Catarina as you discover the secrets surrounding her death.
Secrets of Palazzo Falson offers an exciting glimpse into what museum tours could very well be like in the future and it comes at zero cost to the actual historical elements and nature of the legendary house museum.
“The technology is particularly innovative because it works without specially printed marks, which would interfere with the aesthetics of the museum, but rather uses the actual environment of the Palazzo itself,” continued Zammit.
Though it may be the latest feature of Palazzo Falson, the AR game is just one of the exciting avenues the museum has to explore in its inner walls. In fact, one can visit the museum and not play the free AR game but be equally enthralled by the expansive collection of quirky and unique artifacts collected by Olof.
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“After playing the game, visitors will be invited to take an audio-guided tour of the remarkable history of this historic house museum and its collections. At Palazzo Falson, we are moving ahead with the times and giving more value to our museum,” said the Museum’s curator, Caroline Tonna.
Secrets of Palazzo Falson can be downloaded for free on a smartphone or tablet upon purchase of a ticket at the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum in Mdina which is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (last entrance at 4 pm).