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Utilizing modern technologies for the protection of cultural heritage

03 January 2022
Utilizing modern technologies for the protection of cultural heritage.

Collaboration between the University of the Aegean and the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest

The cooperation of the University of the Aegean and the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest ensures the implementation of new innovative tools for the protection of the museum’s exhibits.

In particular, the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication under the scientific guidance of Professor Christos Kalloniatis developed a modern monitoring system of environmental parameters in the exhibition premises of the Museum. The system was installed in the museum, allowing the monitoring of environmental conditions and the immediate intervention of the museum’s directors to guarantee the safety of the most sensitive exhibits from environmental changes, such as humidity levels, temperature, etc. The pilot installation in the Museum's premises provides the museum’s directors with valid data via the Internet, as special 3D copies of the museum’s exhibits have been designed to integrate the system sensors to ensure the aesthetic assimilation of the monitoring devices in the exhibition.

The creation of this innovative system was developed in the framework of the project entitled "Design and construction of secure smart devices for the preservation of material cultural heritage" which aims to design, construct, and configure smart network devices and respective secure management software. They aim to protect the exhibits kept in cultural organizations from environmental threats. More precisely, this framework funds the creation of infrastructure based on an interdisciplinary approach aiming to design and construct integrated, technologically innovative and safe solutions to existing problems. These problems have been identified by cultural organizations regarding the preservation of their collections in a modern and technologically safe way.

All smart devices are constructed according to the needs of each cultural organization using 3D printers and are fully assembled in the laboratory "PrivaSI Lab - Privacy Engineering and Social Informatics" of the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication in collaboration with the "Cultural Heritage Management Laboratory", the "Cultural Representation Laboratory", the "Intelligent Systems Laboratory", the "Cultural Informatics Laboratory" of the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication and the "Laboratory of Spatial Analysis, Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing" of the Department of Geography. The director of the "PrivaSI Lab" and the Head of the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication, Professor Christos Kalloniatis, is the person in charge of the project.

The main pilot for the implementation of the results of the Project is the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, a cultural organization in the North Aegean with a variety of exhibits that need constant monitoring, especially in terms of the environmental conditions prevailing in the museum.

Uninterrupted cooperation with the director of the museum, Professor Nikolaos Zouros, led to installing four smart devices in the exhibition, the fifth device with a built-in console monitors all the devices of the museum, thus allowing managers to be informed around the clock for any incident around ​​the exhibits, while at the same time, having the possibility of remote intervention, if possible. The presentation of the software for the internet monitoring of the devices signals the official pilot operation of the application.