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    High tech and historical heritage: VR visit to the Great Synagogue of Slonim

    The history of every nation is rich and unique. Knowing the history of your country connects you to your ancestors, allows you to understand the origins of your state, and helps you build a bright future.

    Today, modern technologies, such as AR and VR, allow people all over the world to plunge into the history of previous years and study in detail the topic they are interested in. How do digital opportunities help restore our past?

    Recently Exposit took part in the unique project “Belarus Shtetl”, the first of its kind Belarusian digital project by Belarusian-Jewish Cultural Heritage Center and Goethe-Institut Minsk that includes an interactive exhibition, multimedia presentations, educational program, and photo books about the life of Jewish people in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.

    The Belarus Shtetl team is planning to visualize 4 Belarusian synagogues representing different periods, territories, and architectural styles.

    Together with researchers, artists, and conservationists, we created an authentic VR reconstruction of the Great Synagogue of Slonim, the first object of the entire Belarus Shtetl exhibition. The interactive visualization solution allows you to explore the unique paintings, architectural elements, and original interior sound of the synagogue.

    Historical background

    The Jewish people have always been an integral part of Belarusian history. Before the Second World War, around 15% of the total Belarusian population were Jews, who made a great contribution to the Belarusian culture and the development of Belarusian society.

    The Second World War, the Holocaust, mass emigration, and Soviet ideology had a devastating effect on the culture of Belarusian Jews: Jewish heritage and its significant role in the history of Belarus and Europe still remain unknown to modern residents of the region.

    The development process

    We started the project development with a detailed study of the Synagogue, visiting the historical building in Slonim. We explored the real object, saw elevation plans and historical materials, took photographs of interior and exterior details. It helped us better understand the Synagogue’s architecture and create an authentic 3D model.

    The VR reconstruction of the synagogue included the following elements of detail:

    • geometry, textures for the interior and exterior of the main building;
    • minimal environment (trees, grass, etc.);
    • exterior without additional outhouses;
    • interior reconstruction based on digital materials;
    • reconstruction of complex bas-reliefs (coat of arms, columns).

    We chose the Unity technology for the 3D model development to allow the project creators to quickly adapt the solution for other devices (for example, as a smartphone app), if necessary.

    Simply by wearing glasses and moving from one place to another, you can explore interesting details of the interior and exterior, as well as get more detailed information about particular elements. The VR tour is accompanied by historical stories about the synagogue and background music, the volume of which changes, depending on the user’s movements.

    A virtual tour of the synagogue

    A virtual tour of the synagogue gives you the opportunity to study in detail the historical background of the Jewish Shtetls of Eastern Europe, as well as to rethink the influence of Jewish culture on the history and development of Belarus.

    The developed interactive solution fully met the client’s expectations:  Maya Katznelson, Founder of the Belarusian-Jewish Cultural Heritage Center, shared her positive reviews for Exposit’s services on Clutch and DesignRush.

    Historical archival information in conjunction with high-tech helps us establish a brand new interactive visualization experience and contribute to the preservation of the cultural heritage. VR tools promote knowledge of cultural heritage and allow users to interact with the past context in a simple and attractive way.

    Exposit Team delivers quality visualization solutions for enhanced data understanding and user engagement in different industries. Contact us to bring your ideas to life and create an outstanding VR product that will help you save our world cultural heritage.