Moser, Felix
Supervisor:Prof. Gudrun Klinker
Advisor:Plecher, David (@ne23mux)
Submission Date:15.09.2021


Augmented Reality has proven to be a motivating and engaging addition for museum exhibitions and cultural spaces within various research projects. It is not only capable of bringing long-forgotten artifacts and historical findings back to life but could also provide users with an engaging and immersive learning experience. At the same time, its cost-effective but still interactive setup allows archaeological projects to take advantage of the intangible nature of AR systems and improve, complement, or even substitute selected aspects of an exhibition. Leading up to this thesis, scientists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have discovered and explored a Roman cargo vessel called "Porti ̧tei A," whose findings will be presented in a museum exhibition complemented by an AR-based exhibition guide. Besides a structured representation of findings, the guide also includes AR scenes that convey a selection of information and concepts related to the vessel’s construction and history in a virtual yet interactive way. Therefore, this thesis proposes an iOS-based AR system, based on the corresponding software stack of ARKit, Scenekit, and SwiftUI. By taking advantage of the intangible and engaging nature of Augmented Reality, the system tries to provide future exhibition visitors with an immersive and interactive museum experience. In addition, further measures have been taken to introduce frameworks to the system, which can collect numerous data sets in order to conduct future evaluations and research on the system. Concluding, the thesis provides an insight into the steps ahead within the development process before laying out plans for new use-cases after the exhibition comes to an end.

Results/Implementation/Project Description


General structure of the app with informative overlay for an AR-scene

Ship Reconstruction Model

Tongue and Groove


Black Sea Map

Oil Lamp

Entry Ticket


After discovering and exploring a historical finding, archaeologists are usually confronted with the challenge of salvaging, storing, and presenting these findings. This process can be very costly and is usually not feasible for more minor discoveries, possibly resulting in underwhelming museum experiences for visitors. Thanks to the intangible nature of Augmented Reality and the relatively easy accessibility of AR-capable mobile devices, these findings can now be virtually presented to visitors. 
As previous studies have already shown, the introduction of AR-based systems can lead to higher motivation and an overall improved museum and learning experience among users.

In order to benefit from these advantages, an AR-based exhibition guide has been developed to present the research results and findings of the newly discovered Roman wreck "Portiţei A." The guide follows the path of the physical exhibition very closely, summarizing the five primary topics in chapters, which provide access to respective AR scenes. These scenes try to convey certain principles or topics discussed within the individual chapter by presenting relevant information in an interactive and entertaining manner, possibly improving the relationship between museums and visitors. Moreover, the app is designed to be usable by many people from various backgrounds and, therefore, including informative support screens that guide the user through the system.  
Besides that, measures have been taken to adhere to mobile phones' current performance and energy constraints.

In addition, a digital backend infrastructure has been established that allows for future evaluation of the system's effectiveness as an AR-based exhibition guide, conveying the positive effects of AR in a museum setting. Furthermore, a plausible evaluation process based on automatically collected usage data and two user surveys has been presented together with a selection of steps necessary to derive high-quality results from the data collections.

Concluding, several crucial steps have been presented that need to be implemented before the system can be rolled out to future visitors of the exhibition. Moreover, future use-cases of the system were discussed that could be established after retiring the physical exhibition, indicating that the app's application is not limited to the museum context.