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'Virtual' Accessibility at Tamworth Castle

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Published February 22nd 2021
New projects to create digital archive and reality trail
A medieval castle in Staffordshire is fully embracing the modern age after revealing plans to become more 'virtually' accessible. The futuristic plans at 11th century Tamworth Castle include the creation of a new augmented reality trail and digitalisation of the museum collection. The digital schemes received 250,000 from the Government's Culture Recovery Fund aimed at helping to protect the future of the UK's creative and cultural organisations. The castle projects will be carried out by This Great Adventure and Drakon Heritage and Conservation who are working on three main elements comprising an app-based augmented reality trail within the ancient building, a remote educational programme for schools, and a process to digitise the museum collection for public access online. The collection has more than 40,000 pieces but only 10 per cent of these are on public display. The aim is to set up a catalogue to showcase all the Anglo-Saxon items, and provide a website page for the collection archive which will be free for people to view online.

Tamworth Castle
A knight in armour comes to life at Tamworth Castle.

Jenni Butterworth from Drakon Heritage and Conservation, which is behind the digital archive, said: "Tamworth's fascinating collections shed light not only on the history of the castle, but on the town and its past residents and businesses. We're pleased to be part of this exciting project which will enable people to go 'behind-the-scenes' and virtually explore the objects that tell Tamworth's story so vividly." The augmented reality trail is being developed by This Great Adventure, working closely with developers at Discover Studios and film maker Naresh Kaushal. The reality trail will run throughout the castle where visitors will be able to download an app and scan markers placed in different locations. Each marker will launch an augmented reality experience for example, a 3D object or a character - bringing to life past occupants of the castle or historical information and facts about the furniture and objects on display. The experiences will also be available to view remotely in the Discovery Hub on the ground floor, making them 'virtually' accessible for everyone.

Tamworth Castle
Medieval Tamworth Castle to go digital

The third part of the digital project is the remote learning programme for pupils in KS1 to KS4. This Great Adventure, with educator Simon White, are looking to adapt the current castle education package to make it available online for schools to access and deliver remotely. This will provide teachers and pupils with an additional option to learn via a programme that will follow school history curriculum topics. This means schools from all over the country, and even the world, will be able to learn about Tamworth Castle. Peter Gardom, Director of This Great Adventure, said, "Interactive and immersive media are changing the way we share stories onsite, online and in the classroom. We're delighted to be delivering this ambitious project with a truly multi-disciplinary team of experts from heritage, digital, media and education."

Tamworth Castle
A former occupant of the castle in all his glory

Councillor Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council's Cabinet member for heritage and growth, said: "Our big plans for Tamworth Castle are starting to take shape as we work on developing it even further as a major tourist attraction and celebrate our rich heritage."
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Why? Medieval castle to become virtually accessible under new project
Phone: 01827 709618
Where: Tamworth Castle, Holloway, Tamworth B79 7NA
Cost: Adults 9.95, children 3-15 7.50, under 2's free
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