IMPACT OF VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE ON ACCESSIBILITY OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
Keywords: accessibility, Virtual Reality, wall paintings, conservation, Cultural Heritage, Bagan, Myanmar
Abstract. Accessibility plays a main role among the aspects that contribute to the conservation of Cultural Heritage sites. Seismic stability, fragility of the artefacts, conflicts, deterioration, natural disasters, climate change and visitors’ impact are only some of the possible causes that might lead to the inaccessibility of a heritage site for both researchers and visitors.
The increasing potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the conservation field has resulted in the development of Augmented and Virtual reality (AR and VR) experiences. These ones can be very effective for what concerns the description of the visual experience, but also improve the understanding of a site and even became analytic research tools.
This paper presents an inaccessible Buddhist temple in the Myanmar city of Bagan as a case study for the realization of a VR experience that aims at providing accessibility to knowledge and therefore a better understanding of the cultural value. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the VR for this purpose, a user study has been conducted and its results are reported.