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Culture through mixed reality technology

A 17th century innovation comes to life in mixed reality!

MUSEUM |  Celebrating French art, history and culture through mixed reality and AI.

The Musée des Plans-Reliefs is bringing to life the historic Mont-Saint-Michel relief map—an example of the 17th century’s most advanced mapping technology—via a mixed reality experience that uses current mapping innovations to immerse viewers in a vital piece of French history and culture.


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For centuries, technology has been influencing the way people engage with the world and shape the course of history. In 17th and 18th-century France, large-scale 3D maps—painstakingly built by hand down to the most intricate details—were the most advanced mapping technology of their time. They were considered such valuable strategic tools that leaders like Napoleon and King Louis XIV considered them military secrets and hid them from public view.

The Musee des Plans-Reliefs in Paris is home to more than 100 of these historic relief maps that  have withstood the test of time. But the crown jewel of the collection is the model of Mont-Saint-Michel—a rocky headland off the Normandy coast with a Benedictine abbey that’s an architectural marvel in its own right—presented by a monk to Louis XIV in 1701. A new HoloLens experience is bringing these technological feats, both the relief map and Mont-Saint-Michel itself, to life for a new generation.


 “The Mont Saint-Michel: Digital perspectives on the model,” a HoloLens experience celebrating French culture and innovation: The goal of the exhibit is to use mixed reality technology in a way that empowers the Musée des Plans-Reliefs to unlock a more vital kind of storytelling.


By donning a HoloLens, guests are taken on a 20-minute experience where the Mont-Saint-Michel model comes to life.  They go on a compelling journey where they witness the rich history behind the model, explore specific points of interest, and are transported to the awe-inspiring Mont-Saint-Michel site as it stands today in Normandy. They’re able to see the origins and evolution of the site in a way that wasn’t possible before.

To adapt the story of this is incredible landmark for today’s digitally savvy audience, Microsoft partnered with two French companies among which HoloForge Interactive.

Today, digital map-makers are picking up where their predecessors left off, filling in important gaps through artificial intelligence and mixed reality. Rather than technology being at odds with culture, it’s proving to be an essential tool in preserving and showcasing it for subsequent generations.

Through this partnership, Microsoft hopes to bring the important work of the Musée des Plans-Reliefs into the limelight while helping France promote tourism and preserve its varied history, building a bridge between past, present, and future. This exhibit is an important step in using digital technology to preserve heritage, empower museums, and make cultural experiences accessible to all.


Visit the The Mont Saint-Michel: Digital perspectives on the model at The Musée des Plans-Reliefs from October 2018 – February 2019.





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