Constructed in 1882 by Josiah Clifton Firth, Firth Tower provided its residents an expansive lookout over the countryside of Matamata, New Zealand. The Firth Tower is now a museum, which houses important regional histories and archives by the Matamata Historical Society.
Excited by the regional and historical significance of the Firth Tower Museum, Clint Lawson, director of Muse3D & Virtual Tourism New Zealand, agreed to create a digital twin of the building using Matterport. Discover how Muse3D digitally transformed this space and their plans for the future.
What inspired the 3D capture of this space?
I’m a history buff. I love old buildings — the older the better. Every building has a history, and not everybody knows that history, so when I had the opportunity to create a tour of Firth Tower, I took it. The Firth Tower is actually one of the original reinforced concrete buildings in New Zealand. I made a few additions, like Mattertags, to the scan that people love (especially school kids!).
What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?
There is so much to see. It's all about the parts of history that get overlooked but help to complete the stories of our buildings. Items in the scan that should be checked out are the Long Service Certificate, which was given to James McDonnell, one of the employees, or the McDonnell Clock. Both aren't just a part of the Firth Tower’s story but also the whole region’s history.
What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after exploring your 3D tour?
I want viewers to get as excited and intrigued by our history as I am. I especially hope to inspire children to get inspired and remember the stories of our past.
What are the benefits of Matterport digital twins?
I created Muse3D & Virtual Tourism New Zealand as a way of preserving and promoting our tourism industry to both local and offshore visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scans were a way that the world could still plan their trips and holidays. After all, what better way to book your trip than by a virtual 3D tour?
These digital twins present everything as it is. They are accurate to real-life dimensions and that's why my clients and the viewers love them.
Also, with the lockdowns that were experienced worldwide, a large number of our viewers were ex-pats missing home or locals that were affected by our nation's lockdown. They couldn’t visit sites in person, but they could still visit them online as if they were there.
Do you have any plans to capture more 3D experiences?
Muse3D has scanned over 1,500 sites within the past four years, and we are just getting started. At any one time, we have between 400 to 500 active scans online.
We have been working alongside many historical properties and we are just about to create a virtual tour of the world's last remaining functional WW2 bomber, the Avro Anson, as well as more museums nationwide and a full cave walk.
We have also been working with a paranormal research group to scan “Properties of Interest,” which has been fascinating. It’s also the first time that Matterport tours have been utilized in this way.
Anything else you would like to add?
Matterport is the way of the future and that future is now. Within the past four years, my business has gone from 10% scanning and 90% everything else to 90% scanning. There’s nothing even close and even if there was, I would stay with Matterport.