The ancient world meets the 21st century with a new app that offers an insight into the Australian National University’s Classics Museum
The app showcases 22 of the 650 items in the museum’s collection.
Classics Museum curator, Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Minchin of the Centre for Classical Studies
, identified the 22 items and wrote the descriptions that accompany Bob Miller’s photos.
Elizabeth made selections that are representative of the different materials that were used in ancient Greece and Rome – including metals, terracotta and glass.
In addition, she says: “I wanted figurines as well as pots. I wanted useful things as well as decorative pieces – so we've got the Roman iron nails, which are quite spectacular in themselves.”
“And I wanted little things that related to human life, so I put in the little baby's feeding cup – which instantly connects you with the ancient world.
“You can see someone holding the cup, and you can see the little spout which would have gone into the baby's mouth,” Elizabeth says.
Principally, the app is designed for students and visitors to the ANU Classics Museum, who will be able to get good information instantly about a range of items, with a map to locate them.
“It will be like having a guide at your shoulder,” Elizabeth says, smiling.
The app is also aimed at people who think that museums aren’t for them.
“If you say 'museum' to a certain demographic of people, they may think, 'boring',” Elizabeth says.
“They may think, ‘I'd have to read all this stuff on the signage and there would be all these items in dusty cabinets’ and so on.”
She explains, “So by creating something very attractive that introduces them to the holdings of our museum, this breaks down that barrier of misunderstanding and reluctance.”
“We hope that the app will stimulate more people to visit the museum, which is one of the university’s hidden treasures.”