Research Stream


Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow (2016)
The University of Western Australia

Emotions3D: Accessing a history of emotions through 3D digital museum artefacts

Emotions3D uses visual and sensory manipulation of digital 3D content to enhance our understanding of the history of emotions in museums and heritage.

Digital 3D.jpg

Using photogrammetric imaging technology, Emotions3D creates three-dimensional digital reproductions of museum artefacts. These digital resources will be annotated to link museum objects in ways which tell innovative, unique stories, and can be viewed online or on a mobile device, 3D printed, or accessed in virtual reality using the Google Cardboard viewer.

The aim of the project is to encourage members of the public to engage with museum artefacts across the themes of joy, love, disgust and fear. Highlights of the Emotions3D collection range from medieval armor and drinking memorabilia, love tokens and rings from several periods of history; reliquaries and caskets; medical instruments; personal effects of the poet, John Keats; the world’s oldest football; and a hat belonging to the famed Edinburgh serial killer, William Burke.

Emotions3D collaborates with a range of UK museums and cultural heritage partners, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Keats’ House, the Stirling Smith Museum and Gallery, and St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum and Archive. The project operates within the Centre’s ‘Shaping the Modern’ stream, and has strong public engagement, heritage outreach and digital humanities foci. Wider research, led by Dr Jane-Héloïse Nancarrow, seeks to understand the role of emotions within modern curatorial practice, and examines the theoretical relationship between material form, function and three-dimensional artistic display.

Project Outcomes

The Emotions3D Website

The digital heritage resource featuring embedded 3D photorealistic digital replicas of cultural heritage objects from UK museums. These models are annotated in three-dimensions and accompanied by specialist research content particularly pertaining to the emotional properties of objects. The site has had over 2000 views since December 2016.


Nancarrow, J.-H. ‘Emotions3D: Remediating the Digital Museum’. In The Routledge Research Companion to Digital Medieval Literature, edited by J. E. Boyle and H. J. Burgess, pp. 199–211.  London: Routledge, 2018.

Nancarrow, J.-H. ‘Replicating “real-ness”: Establishing parameters for post-processing in cultural heritage photogrammetry’, conference proceedings of Digital Cultural Heritage: Future Visions, Brisbane 2017, forthcoming.

Nancarrow, J.-H. ‘Democratizing the Digital Collection: New Players and New Pedagogies in Three-Dimensional Cultural Heritage’. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research 4 (2016):63–77.

Conference Panel

Nancarrow, J.-H. ‘Interactive Digital Technologies for History and Cultural Heritage: A Roundtable Exchange’ at the 17th biennial Australian and New Zealand Medieval and Early Modern Studies conference, Wellington, NZ, 2017.

Curriculum Packages

The ‘Historians are Curious’ legacy curriculum package of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE), developed by Wendy Norman, CHE Adelaide's Education and Outreach Officer.

Curriculum-based classes for Media and Visual Arts within Western Australian schools, delivered throughout 2017 by Joanna Tyler, CHE UWA's Education and Outreach Officer.

A series of public heritage blog posts are available here.

Project Media

3D imaging puts world’s oldest football within reach‘ - The University of Western Australia media release, 7 December 2016

An Emotions-based Heritage Approach‘ - Sketchfab Cultural Heritage blog post, 29 March 2017

Emotions in 3D: digital modelling at the museum‘ - Histories of Emotion blog post, 15 April 2016

Emotions3D‘ - Accelerating Virtual and Augmented Reality at UWA project page

Image: A selection of objects which will appear in the Emotions3D online collection. Clockwise from top left: Wooden toy in the shape of an elephant c.1850 (St Barts’ Museum and Archive); Tortoise-shell and silver heart-shaped box, possibly French c.1750 (Victoria and Albert Museum, metalwork and ceramics collection); Jacobean wedding dress 1742 (Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum); fur hat belonging to serial murderer, William Burke (Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum); the world’s oldest football (Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum); wooden dummy used to demonstrate trephining sites, early 19th C. (St Barts’ Museum and Archive); Stirling Burgh Box, lined with a Book of Hours dating to 1503 (Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum); The Pusey Horn c. 1400‒1450 (Victoria and Albert Museum, metalwork and ceramics collection); Japanese Netsuke figure, date unknown (Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum); iron visored helmet c.1460‒1490 (Victoria and Albert Museum, metalwork and ceramics collection).