Carved into stone – Creating an interactive museum installation for the Dynna Stone

About the Museum of Cultural History

The Historical Museum located in Oslo houses Norway’s largest prehistoric and medieval collections of artifacts and treasures.  Vikingr exhibition includes one of the most important runestones still in existence; the Dynna Stone, with its runic inscription on one side, and Christian motifs on the other, symbolizing an important point in Norwegian history.

During 800 – 1100 AD, Vikings traders and conquerors expanded across Europe– the famous period known as the Viking Age. Their rapid expansion brought the Vikings in touch with many cultures and religions, whose ideas and beliefs were brought back to Scandinavia, and over time shaped a new cultural and religious landscape.
From the Vikingr exhibition designed by Snøhetta

The Historical Museum located in Oslo, houses Norway’s largest archaeological collections. The most popular exhibition is Vikingr which displays iconic Viking objects including weapons, armour, jewellery and treasures as well as one of the most famous runestones. 

The Dynna Stone

One of the most important runestones in the collection is the Dynna Stone. The stone depicts a turning point in religious beliefs in Norway; the transition from Norse paganism to Christianity which took place during the 11th century. 

Prominently displayed at the museum and standing three metres tall, the Dynna Stone has Norse runes carved down one side, while its front face depicts the birth of Jesus Christ among the first examples of Christian pictoral art in Norway

The Historical Museum was searching for a way of presenting the Dynna Stone, to highlight and enhance the runes and its motifs so that they could be explored and understood by the general public in an interactive way.

Working closely with the museum’s curator we decided to digitalize the Dynna Stone as the way of best meeting these needs. However, we also were also conscious of the fact that preserving the authenticity of the stone and all its details during the digitization process was key to this project’s success.

Key features

Photogrammetry scan of the Dynna Stone

 

Fully interactive museum exhibition display

 

Hand tracking solution for user interaction

Scanning the stone

We started by capturing the Dynna Stone through photogrammetry. We did this by taking hundreds of high resolution images of the stone, we then processed these photos into a 3D model, which enabled us to capture all the miniscule details, deformities and surface textures across the stone.

This 3D model was then optimized by our modelling team so that it retained all its rich details, the complexity of the model was now at a level that it could be used in a real time interactive engine. Each of the runes, and the Christian motifs were then manually traced so that a pixel perfect sketch could be lifted off the stone and digitally highlighted.

Interacting with the stone

With the digital replica of the Dynna Stone complete, our next task was implementing it into an interactive user friendly experience that would be fun for all the museum visitors. We used the ‘Leap Motion’ hand tracker, to track user hand movements to both rotate the stone and also point at different motifs or runes to highlighting details and generating further information.

“Glitch Studios has brought to life the motifs and runes on the Dynna Stone for the Historical Museum through an interactive digital display to help visitors better understand and experience the runestone.”
Museum of Cultural History

Preservation through digitization

The digitization of the Dynna Stone and its installation as a permanent exhibition piece at the Cultural History Museum was completed in early 2019. Today the installation invites museums goers to interact with the Dynna Stone, exploring its secrets and uncovering the hidden meanings behind both its runes and Christian motifs. The interactive experience not only celebrates a key moment in Scandinavian history but through a vigorous digitization process preserves the Dynna Stone for generations to come.