The first interactive Balts’ culture promotion centre in Lithuania and Latvia is waiting to open its doors to visitors after the quarantine. The main goal of this centre and the whole project LLI-187 “International Cultural Route Balts’ Road”, abbr. “Balts’ Road”, is to promote travelling and getting to know tangible and intangible cultural and natural heritage of Balts. Travel routes in the Baltic lands have been developed, there is a tourist guide, a website wwww.baltukelias.lt, and now, a unique space that will help to introduce to the past of Balts’ culture and its manifestations at present.
Employing modern technologies, copies of exhibits, and educational activities, this centre presents the history, culture, and lifestyle of Balts, this way creating opportunities to develop a conscious cognition of the Baltic heritage and its preservation approaches for young people, families, tourists, and residents of the city of Šiauliai.
The idea of the centre’s exposition was created by choosing a universal object that is also an important symbol of Balts – the Sun. The link with the city of Šiauliai, which is known as the city of the Sun, has also been considered. Décor elements and artistic accents of the exposition were created based on the knowledge of the areas inhabited by Balts, the historical development of tribes, mounds and methods of burial, lifestyle, ornamentation, pottery, weaving, metalwork, honey, food, Lithuanian multipart songs sutartinės, and nature. The centre is intended to promote visitors’ active participation, interest, cognition, and assimilation of information through senses: hearing, smelling, seeing, and touching. Therefore, there is not much written information – the topic or activity and occupation depicted on the stand are only briefly introduced. All information is provided in Lithuanian, Latvian, and English.
The centre was designed following the universal design principles: there is an audio guide (on the topics of pottery, metalwork, weaving, sutartinės), the names of the stands are given in Braille, there is a ramp for persons with reduced mobility or families with prams as well as a lift to get to the sanitary facilities.
Both young and old visitors of the museum or anther educational centre expect innovations. You will find as many as four interactive games in the spaces of “Balts’ Road”. These are games scientifically grounded on historical and archaeological material, which by means of computer graphics and animation become a real centre of attention. Touch, try out, and find out – this is how these four games that will not leave anyone indifferent can be called.
The game “Balts’ profession”, based on biometric human data, allows to see oneself as a spinner, weaver, soldier, fisherman, etc. and to download such portrait by scanning the QR code. Another educational game “Get to know Balts’ items” introduces to household items used in the Baltic tribes. While various objects are falling, it is necessary to identify which of them belong to the Baltic period and topics and which do not. Players of the game collect points. The technology of the game “Travel to the everyday life of Balts” allows to move a person standing in front of the camera to a unique augmented reality environment chosen by the person himself/herself. The tourist must be able to save the composed view with his/her image as a photo and download it after scanning the QR code. Most of the space is left for the game-installation “Balts’ life”: on a specially prepared, touch-sensitive plane, projectors and sensors present the uniqueness of individual Balts’ tribes as well as general aspects of the Baltic way of life. It is a space filled with sounds and lights, which allows to get to know the culture and life of ancient Balts even better.
Total projects size is 763 402,33 EUR. Out of them co-funding of European Regional Development Fund is 648 891,95 EUR.
This article has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of Siauliai Tourism information centre and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.