Through a Glass Darkly is a project involving colleagues in the School of Classics (Rebecca Sweetman and Ioannis Georganas) and the Museum of the University of St Andrews, MUSA (Alison Hafield and Hannah Sycamore) which stems from research into changing perceptions material culture according to the medium in which it is experienced. From this research project we have designed a number of practical applications which have been rolled out to help inform museum curatorial decision making processes as well as support education in schools and museums. Our work is funded by the Leventis Foundation and the University of St Andrews.

Practical foundations

The practical foundations were to digitise the University’s Bridges collection of Cypriot archaeological material. Find out more about the early stages of the project here.

Our aims:

  • To provide context for this collection of otherwise disparate artefacts assembled by a private collector.
  • To make the material accessible to academics and the public through the creation of a University Virtual Museum (in collaboration with colleagues in Computer Science and Art History).

To find out how we have been working towards these goals, visit our website.

Virtual Museum

The creation of an assemblage of 3D material culture provides an important educational resource for students within the University (in particular Anthropology, Archaeology, Classics, History and Museum Studies students) to learn curatorial skills. The resource will also be made freely available to the public as part of the ongoing project developing St Andrews University Virtual Museum led by the Virtual Histories Team.


Research Project

To date research on use of 3D has focused on questions of the application and use of digital media for purposes such as processing and exploring archaeological assemblages, understanding use of ancient spaces and teaching. This project brings together experimental archaeology and qualitative analysis of focus to help inform the value of digital media, in particular 3D reconstructions, in museum contexts. As such, the focus here is on research to inform professionals on the value of 3D material culture in terms of user value and generation of interest and further enquiry.  While research on perceptions of material culture has underpinned our work, we now have a valuable data set of 3D material culture (the Bridges collection) which is freely available to researchers and the public alike. As a consequence of our work, we are taking advantage of our own learning process to put together packages for primary and secondary schools to develop their own skills in 3D material culture.

Skip to 2:45 to hear more about Through A Glass Darkly from Rebecca Sweetman, one of the leaders of the project –

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