Over the last several years, countless historical sites have been lost to the ages due to conflict and natural disasters. It's not just the buildings and artefacts that are taken either, but the heritage and culture behind them that has been left behind to be discovered, enjoyed and appreciated by people from all over the world. Ogilvy New York has teamed up with UNESCO and their ambitious #Unite4Heritage campaign to launch an interactive site called ReclaimHistory.org, which is essentially a crowd sourced online museum where people can come together to learn, share and digitally recreate monuments that have been lost.
“ReclaimHistory.org provides users with a visually immersive experience, encouraging them to explore historical sites that have been lost around the world”
The reclaiming history project was started by co-founders, Chance Coughenour and Matthew Vincent, both researchers from Spain and Germany respectively, who started Rekrei, formally known as Project Mosul, which was launched last year as a direct response to ISIS propaganda videos showing their members destroying artefacts in the Iraq city of Mosul. By integrating their knowledge in archaeology, web development, and photogrammetry, their objective was to promote the digital preservation of lost cultural heritage using crowdsourced data in a cooperative, open-source project that would give those who are curious access to an interactive, immersive database of lost historical sites.
Rekrei's Founder Matthew Vincent, said of the site: “ReclaimHistory.org provides users with a much more visually immersive experience, encouraging them to explore historical sites that have been lost around the world. In many cases, physical restorations are impossible due to the extent of the destruction, but through crowdsourcing the digital preservation of the memory of that heritage, not only does it provide a way for the public to engage with lost heritage, but also to have an active, tangible role in preserving it.” Corinna Falusi, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy New York, added: “This project is very personal to me. If we can use the power of technology to preserve and safeguard these cultural monuments lost over time through conflict and natural disasters, preserving them in one central site, it will hopefully be a gift for generations to come.”
“We can use the power of technology to preserve and safeguard these cultural monuments lost over time through conflict and natural disasters”
Building on the initial workflow of using crowdsourced images to virtually recreate artefacts using photogrammetry, the project's web-based platform is evolving to better utilise publicly-available data on the web to assist their volunteers in new ways. After partnering with Ogilvy and Pet Gorilla, Rekrei will now be able maintain this worthwhile project. ReclaimHistory.org will be the central hub where people can go to visit and learn more about the monuments that have been digitally recreated. The site will also be a place for anyone to come together and help recreate more monuments.