Differentia - Allen Valley
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark is a stunning landscape of open heather moors and peatlands, attractive dales and hay meadows, with intriguing imprints of its mining and industrial past.
As part of its HLF funded Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership Scheme, the AONB Partnership staff team had identified two important industrial heritage sites in the Allen Valleys that were on the Heritage At Risk register and ideal for 24/7 digital heritage interpretation - a difficult task given the outdoor nature of both visitor areas.
As part of a major heritage development, the Partnership engaged specialist heritage designers Differentia to produce detailed artist’s impressions and specialist outdoor signs. Both teams worked with info-Point to develop the mobile digital offering that was uploaded and is updated on an ongoing basis by the Landscape Partnership staff and volunteers.
Scheme Manager, Andy Lees, comments:
"I saw Info-Point some time ago and realised that it answered some of our specific needs that could not be met otherwise. The on-site demonstration and test proved that it could do the job, and the track-record of the product reassured me that it was robust enough for our environment."
Conservation Assistant, Steven Lipscombe, who worked hands-on with the content said:
"With the flexible help of the Info-Point technical support we were able to do exactly what we wanted with the system. These units are now in place and operating well. There has been an excellent reception to them and the community are keen to make more use of them and explore their capabilities."
Urbancroft Films - The Whithorn Story
Whithorn has an important story to tell about its archaeology and its pivotal role as an early Christian site. The Whithorn Trust is important to the local economy and community, but faced the significant challenge of a rural facility, with limited internet connectivity and a limited pool of volunteers to provide a human-guided experience on demand. Led by the Trust, the community undertook an HLF grant-funded project to develop the museum and cafe, and to build a life-size replica of a local Iron Age roundhouse. As part of this, they wanted to provide modern digital interpretation that could follow the visitor across the site at any time.
The Trust commissioned professional producers Urbancroft Films to make a number of short videos using children to enact key scenes from the Whithorn Story. To deliver this and other content to visitors and school groups they installed an Info-Point ‘master unit’ inside a separate office building, where it is completely secure, and can feed a ‘slave unit’ at the cafe and a solar-powered one outdoors at the roundhouse.
The project has succeeded in its aims, and won the Scottish Heritage Angels Award 2017. Development Manager Julia Muir-Watt said “The Info-Point system enabled us to deliver what we wanted to do, at a difficult site for digital interpretation, and at reasonable cost. It provides a 24/7 digital facility via visitor’s phones that we can be proud of and can keep updated ourselves.”
ATS Heritage - NT Petworth House
Fuzzy Duck - St Asaph Cathedral
One of the oldest cathedrals in Wales, and reputedly the smallest in Britain, St Asaph's was recently awarded major Heritage Lottery Funding to protect and promote its important Welsh heritage. By using a single Info-Point unit the cathedral is able to share its history with all its visitors, bringing the museum’s artefacts into the 21st century for younger visitors, and including those who would not normally be able to enjoy a museum visit.
As part of the project the Cathedral engaged specialist media developers Fuzzy Duck to create a smartphone app. This is being delivered by them as a turnkey solution pre-installed on an Info-Point unit. Alistair Monaghan, Head of Digital at Fuzzy Duck, says “We already had experience of using Info-Point as a platform to deliver creative media. The advantage for our clients is that we can reliably deliver a mix of smartphone apps and other digital content at any location, and don’t need to worry at all about connectivity. Religious buildings can serve visitors very effectively, but in a discreet way, without compromising their primary mission or distracting from their services.”
Heritage Now - Combe Mill
Combe Mill in Oxfordshire uses two Info-Point units to enhance its interpretation and improve accessibility. One unit covers the two floors of the mill itself, while the other covers the separate tea room and the car park, and can be used even when the part-time and volunteer-run museum is closed. Phones can connect to either Info-Point and will then switch over automatically as the visitor moves about the site. The Mill, which was a workshop for Blenheim Palace, uses QR codes on some exhibits to take users direct to videos of the mill in steam.
Museum Chairman Tony Simmonds commented, “Visitors can see us in steam at any time and enjoy the working machinery, watch videos, and download historic material they might otherwise not see. It enhances our offering and encourages visitors to linger in the tea room.”
Wallis Agency - Swanage Pier
Built in 1897 Swanage Pier is a historic ‘promenading’ pier that is open to the public and attracts a wide range of tourists, especially photographers. Small scale ferry services run to Poole Quay and historic paddle steamers visit for events. The pier also hosts a diving school, the oldest in the UK.
Following a successful Heritage Lottery Funding bid the Pier underwent infrastructure improvements, including a cafe, shop, and new digital interpretation available exclusively to visitors on the Pier via an Info-Point network.
Nick Morris of graphic designers Wallis Agency created a number of interpretation stories and developed the Info-Point content. “I was particularly taken by the ability to develop interactives such as a ‘scratch-off’ image that juxtaposes historic and current photographs of the Pier.” he said, “The built-in Content Management System and private ‘Staff’ area has meant that I can hand this over to the Trust and their volunteers to maintain. If enhancements are desired in the future it will be no problem as the whole system is so flexible.”
Ben Adeney, the CEO and General Manager at Swanage Pier Trust added, “As we were introducing a modest charge for visiting, we felt that we had to have a more professional visitor experience. However, we faced very severe local challenges, especially for on-site interpretation, due to the extreme weather and marine environment, plus the fact that we have public access, and the way that the Pier interferes with Wi-Fi signals. The Info-Point team came down and did extensive site testing, as well as supervising the installation and commissioning, so that all the challenges were overcome with confidence. The system has been an instant hit with our team of volunteers who are so vital to our success.”
Abound Design - Jordans Quaker House
Bright 3D - Swansea Castle
Swansea Council commissioned a dynamic modern video for Swansea Castle web site from Bright 3D, but lacked the means to show it to visitors at the castle, which is an open and unmanned site.
Bright 3D suggested to the client installing an info-Point unit, but there was still the issue of where to locate it, as it was important not to clutter the view, and to protect it, as the nightlife in Castle Square is described as 'lively'.
Following a site visit and test, the Info-Point was supplied in an All-Weather utility enclosure and this was installed in a pedestrian crossing, which provides both the power for the unit, and disguises it as it blends into the traffic lights. The location is perfect as the signal covers the Castle grounds and the public square. Can you spot it in the picture?
Monty Funk - The Great Orme
Conwy Council’s Green Links Trail needed to give visitors information outdoors, where there was no IT infrastructure and poor phone reception, but a cafe and an old toll booth with power available. Through their interpreters, Monty Funk, who authored the creative content, they developed audio trails and downloadable leaflets and use Info-Point to deliver them.
Project Officer Dan Romberg says, "At three Info-Point 'hot spots' we are able provide an audio trail offering an insight into the environmental, historical and recreational aspects of the on the coastal strip between Llandudno and Prestatyn, and the Marine Drive on the Great Orme."
Sarah McCarthy - Snowdonia
Interpretation in Wales demands both English and Welsh. Info-Point comes by default with an 'intelligent' multi-lingual module. When activated, each individual user is able to instantly switch to their preferred language, which changes both content and navigation. Both text and media files can be identified in terms of language and the module can make a best substitute in the event that a piece of content is not available in a particular language.
Info-Point Technical Direct Paul Palmer says "This is a highly sophisticated language module and it comes as part of every Info-Point. The National Trust appreciated this and have installed Info-Point at three of their Welsh properties - the Dinas Emrys 'Princes of Wales' project at Craflwyn, Aberdaron visitor centre, and Mynydd Mawr coastguard station, which is a battery operated version."
University of Leicester Archaeology Services - Oakham Castle
Oakham Castle is a Norman motte and bailey castle that has survived in the centre of a small town, but been much altered over the centuries and much of its former structure is unknown.
In 2018 University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) and Rutland County Council carried out a Heritage Lottery-funded community dig to explore further some tantalising glimpses of stone walls that had been found during a 2012 Time Team programme.
Oakham Castle is an open public site in the centre of town, so there are always people passing through. During the two-week community dig an Info-Point unit was used to provide 24/7 visitor information about the background to the dig and updates on what it was being discovered in the two trenches. The public were informed of the facility by waterproof ‘plastic paper’ posters with a QR Code to access information on each specific trench. During the 10-day dig there were almost 1,000 page accesses, with a substantial number outside the hours of operation of the dig.
Project Leader Matt Morris of the University of Leicester said, “The Info-Point enabled us to present the historical context to the steady stream of visitors, and to easily upload photographs and video of finds as things progressed. I watched people of all ages using it and they seemed comfortable with the smartphone technology. It helped us to improve the presentation of information, and suited the outdoor environment of a dig better than other means. We even included some interactive games.”