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York's Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture helps bring historic buildings to life
The Worcester Cathedral initiative is on-going and the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture is planning further touchscreen installations and apps.

YORK.- The University of York is helping to bring two historically significant buildings - Auckland Castle and Worcester Cathedral - to life for visitors with the introduction of cutting edge technology.

Auckland Castle touchscreen - The ChapelAuckland Castle touchscreen - The Chapel
At Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, York’s Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture is collaborating on the development of vivid interactive reconstructions allowing the viewer to be whisked back through nearly 10 centuries of change and development. They have also produced trails to introduce visitors to the site’s evocative spaces and stories.

At Worcester Cathedral, the York centre is helping to bring to life the rich history of the Cathedral and its role in national life, as part of a project called ‘Telling the Story’ which includes the installation of new interpretation displays, touchscreen terminals and mobile App trails.

The collaborations are the latest in a string of projects by the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture across the country. Each project makes creative use of the latest technology to introduce new audiences to some of the nation’s oldest and most historically significant buildings.

Auckland Castle was home to the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham for nearly 900 years, and is the North East’s newest heritage and arts attraction.

Dr Dee Dyas, Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, said: “Through innovative and interactive mobile and touch screen applications, visitors to Auckland Castle can now engage with the history of the ancient County Durham stronghold and the compelling and intriguing stories of the bishops who helped shape the region and the nation.

“This project reaches out into the community and gives people the chance to own their rich heritage.”

The team has developed a new app which includes an innovative 3D interpretation of the chapel. Via touchable hotspots, the user is taken back to the 12th century when the building was originally the Prince Bishops’ grand banqueting hall and to the spectacular conversion of the 17th century when Bishop Cosin transformed it into his vision of the perfect chapel. The app then fast forwards the viewer through the years to the imposing place of worship the chapel is today. There are also special touchscreens in key rooms which allow adults and children to turn detective and delve deeper into the castle’s past.

Dr Chris Ferguson, Head Curator at Auckland Castle, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to work in partnership with the University of York’s Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture to develop the app and touchscreens to help open people’s eyes to this glorious castle and its many stories.”

At Worcester Cathedral, the York team has created interactive resources which are allowing visitors and the local community to explore the historic building in new ways. Three interactive touchscreens enable visitors to learn more about the Cathedral’s importance in Anglo-Saxon England; its musical heritage - including rare medieval manuscripts from the Cathedral Library, the life and work of Sir Edward Elgar, and the Three Choirs Festival; and the Cathedral’s role in medieval pilgrimage.

In addition, a mobile app trail allows visitors to explore the history, art and architecture of the Cathedral and their meaning today. A second trail can be used, either in the Anglo-Saxon crypt or in the main cathedral, to discover the riches of Anglo-Saxon spirituality though poetry, prayers and meditations.

Dr Dyas said: “Worcester Cathedral is of enormous historic and spiritual significance and it is a great pleasure and privilege for us to work with the Dean and Chapter and the Cathedral community to bring its wonderfully rich story to a wider audience in new ways.”

Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at York for all that they have done to enhance our presentation of the Worcester Cathedral story, for the benefit of our thousands of visitors.”

The Worcester Cathedral initiative is on-going and the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture is planning further touchscreen installations and apps.

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