The National Archeological Museum (NAIM) is located in the center of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, within the oldest former Ottoman mosque in the city. As a cultural and historical pillar of Bulgaria, the museum houses significant pieces and displays of archeology.
To share these diverse and one-of-a-kind histories, Martin Yanakiev, owner of Revival Design, utilized Matterport products to capture and share scans of NAIM on their website.
What inspired the 3D capture of this space?
The National Archeological Museum in Sofia, founded in 1892, is one of the oldest and most expansive museums in Bulgaria.
After looking at all of the museum 3D tours from around the world captured with the Matterport platform, I knew NAIM would be perfect. When I offered to capture it, the management and staff were really impressed by the quality that we are able to provide.
This was the first Bulgarian museum ever to be captured in 3D to that extent, and with such high quality. The virtual tour of NAIM was received very well and after almost a year and a half, it’s still live on their website.
What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?
Due to the rich and diverse archeological heritage of Bulgaria, the whole museum collection would be very interesting for the visitors. However, some of the “must-see” artifacts are located in the treasury hall on the third floor. Also, the collection in the temporary exhibition hall, located on the second floor, changes annually to showcase the most significant artifacts found in archeological sites in Bulgaria over the past year.
What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after exploring your 3D tour?
The main purpose of the 3D virtual tour is to present the captured space in the best and most extensive way possible. With that in mind, I hope the visitors have a great time “walking” through the museum halls studying the interesting and diverse artifacts.
The bottom line is that a 3D tour aims to encourage more virtual visitors to plan a future in-person visit to the museum.
What are the benefits realized with the Matterport digital twin of the Museum?
The main benefit of the 3D virtual tour of NAIM is that it raises the popularity of the museum, as well as the diverse cultural and archeological heritage of Bulgaria.
When we first published the finished virtual tour, we received lots of positive feedback from different schools, virtual school groups, and clubs from all around the country. They were really excited that they had the opportunity to show their pupils the museum collection — especially as the tour was published at the beginning of the first COVID-19 lockdown. During this time NAIM was closed for months, so the virtual tour was invaluable.
Usually, big national museums have exhibitions that may not be changed in decades, but there are museums and especially art galleries that house mostly short-term exhibitions. They benefit from the 3D tours even more since their past exhibitions can now live forever in the virtual world.
Do you have any plans to capture more 3D experiences?
Even though it’s sometimes difficult to convince museums and art galleries to create a virtual tour of their venue, it’s always worth it by the end of the project. After capturing the 3D tour of NAIM, we shot the virtual tours of the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia, the National Ethnographic Museum in Sofia, three exhibitions at Sofia City Art Gallery, and a few smaller cultural sites.
We hope to be able to present even more museums and art galleries in the near future. The Matterport platform is truly capable of providing the best 3D experience possible and I’m really glad that I chose to work with them.