Knowledge & expertise

Diving into the machine: the preservation of mechanical heritage

2014 - 2018

Digitising audiovisual signals is one thing. But what do we do with physical objects of which the material is gradually decaying, but whose form we would like to preserve? ‘Diving into the machine’ is an experimental investigation, in which VIAA was involved, on the use of 3D models.

Our industrial and agricultural heritage consists of, among other things, big and heavy machines. Apart from specific preservation circumstances, a lot of space is needed as well to preserve them. That space isn’t always available.Together with several partners, we investigated the ways in which modern digitising techniques can be used to preserve this mechanical heritage in a sustainable way. 3D models not only record the exterior of the machines, they can also visualize their functioning. 


That way, 3D can be used for the management, preservation and promotion of the machines. The possibilities were examined in  three test cases: the Scutching Turbine by Vansteenkiste (Texture Kortrijk), the Spinning Mule or Mule Jenny (MIAT Ghent) and the Hop-Picker Themilco (Hop Museum Poperinge). VIAA primarily helped to examine sustainable digital preservation of the 3D files and the proper formats for this. In doing so, we want to offer organizations a manual for 3D digitisation of industrial and agricultural heritage. 

This is a project of heritage cell CO7, Heritage South West, the Centre of Expertise for Technical, Scientific and Industrial Heritage (ETWIE), the Centre for Agrarian History (CAG), the Centre for Flemish Architectural archives (CVAa), the Museum of Flax and river Lys (Texture), the Museum of Industry, Work and Textiles (MIAT), PACKED and the Flemish Institute for Archiving (VIAA).

Questions about this research project? 
Contact Matthias Priem, he will be happy to help you.

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