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We are delighted to announce the installation of the very first ColliderCase.
Working in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, the ColliderCase is being used at Culloden Battlefield to display and interpret three documents written in 1746 by Charles Edward Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. It is incredibly exciting to be able to bring these highly significant documents to life through the unique technology the ColliderCase offers, and to contribute to their first ever public display.
In the letter written to his cousin, King Louis XV of France, Charles outlines the reasons for his defeat at Culloden (unsurprisingly he blames a lack of resources rather than taking personal responsibility for his rather questionable military tactics). He also details what he needs to make another attempt to take the English and Scottish crowns, something he believed was certainly within his grasp if the King would supply him with the resources he has listed.
He was lucky to be alive and able to make such requests - Charles had fled the battlefield and survived by hiding in the Scottish moors, before being smuggled across to the Isle of Skye disguised as an Irish maid. From here he sailed across to France and, excepting a brief and secret visit in 1750, he never returned to England.
Original handwritten documents can be a vital resource for historians, often providing fascinating insights into the sender’s and receiver’s social status, and offering a personal view of events and circumstances, and these documents are no exception. However, they can also be difficult to interpret effectively especially when, as is the case with these letters, they are written in a script and language form now unfamiliar to most visitors. This was one of the interpretive challenges we faced on this project and figures 1 and 2 below give a sneak peek of how we tackled it.
The letter from the Prince to King Louis XV is the main focus of rich media interpretation. A visitor watches as the script on the original document glows, highlighting a passage of text, before this is ‘replaced’ with accessible type, as shown in figure 2. The exclusive capabilities of ColliderCase technology enables this visual transformation to take place, whilst maintaining the object in a secure, conservation grade environment.
Interpretive content is delivered in a choice of six languages, chosen by the Trust to best reflect their audiences, in addition to large print and as audio description, enabling a wide range of visitors access to these unique and historically significant documents. Video content appears right next to the original documents (figure 3), so there's no need for external interpretation distracting the visitors' attention away from these fantastic objects.
The collaborative process has been a very positive one and we look forward to continuing to work with the Trust, using visitor feedback and analytics gathered from the sensor built into the case, to tailor and refresh the dynamic content throughout the year.
You can view the letters on display in the ColliderCase at Culloden until November 2017.