New technologies for Museum collections

Title of the research project

B.A.C.K. TO T.H.E. F.U.T.U.RE. - BIM Acquisition as Cultural Key TO Transfer Heritage of ancient Egypt For many Uses To many Users REplayed

Scientific area 

3D Modelling; Geomatics; History of Architecture

Project coordinator

Massimiliano Lo Turco


The research project aimed at defining a new methodology in which the BIM - Building Information Modeling tools can be used for unconventional purposes, to realize 3D databases of small objects, especially those belonging to large museum collections, useful both for Scientific Research and to set up Virtual Platforms for Dissemination.

Description of the research project

Museums have huge collections as well as huge depots where they store a remarkable number of historical artefacts. A correct preservation as well as the widespread communication of museum collections are of utmost importance. Because of the limited space available for exhibition, many objects are stored without any real possibility of using them as an active part of the collection for their contribution to a general knowledge.

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional features of places and components.

The research project referred to the Building Information Modeling process -more conventionally applied in the Construction Industry field. -  to build up a methodology that will be able to virtually reproduce 3D objects by integrating geometric and semantic information

The new procedure was able to take advantage of the different levels of knowledge of objects in a museum: Scientific Research, Data Management, Virtual Platform for Dissemination.

The project applied the proposed methodology to some small objects that belong to the collection of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (Museo Egizio) of Turin. The achieved BIM models were used to show how museums can use them for different purposes: to monitor their collections (3D repository linked to a database) and to offer the users (visitors) the possibility of exploring objects stored in their depots and storerooms which are not exposed.

Impact on society 

The main impact on scientific community is the collection of digital 3D archives of metric and semantic information stored by Museums, data sharing between research organisations, documentation of the existing Cultural Heritage through the setting up of a BIM database.

Participatory and immersive forms of communication addressed to the general public could be defined by crossing techniques and languages according to a new virtual museum vision. At the regard, Virtual/Augmented Reality applications both for on-site visitors and for remote enjoyment/visits will be proposed.

Research results

The final outcome has been the building of 3D information models of small items that are part of a museum collection, closed in depots and not accessible by the public so far. A procedure of acquisition and digitisation of museum artefacts has been defined through the integration of different survey techniques.

A methodology for the historical investigation has been shaped and it led to an advancement of the state of the art with original results. The digitised museum collection has been enriched linking itself to the related historical documentation not easily accessible.

Data and metadata available through the Museo Egizio database have been the starting point to build the database. A complex system has been created by adopting the ontological standard CIDOC-CRM -CIDOC

The development of 3D gamification solutions oriented to the contextualisation of architectural and decorative elements of the temples is one of the dissemination outputs. Serious games in form of Web-App have been realised and the users are requested to properly place historical drawings (orthogonal projections) of the temples as 3D puzzles.

Among the main results and scientific impacts, we highlight

  • 14 scientific papers
  • 13 project presentations to scientific conferences
  • New collaboration with  ISPC-CNR (Italy)
  • Organisation of the workshop “Documentazione & Digitale vol. 2. Strategie digitali per il Patrimonio Culturale” in Torino in June 2019 and the publication of a dedicated volume.

Short CV of project coordinator 

Massimiliano Lo Turco is Associate professor at the Department of Architecture and Design (DAD) of Politecnico di Torino,. He holds a PhD in drawing and surveying for the conservation of building and territory heritage from the same University. He leads research activities in the field of survey and BIM, by participating both to National Projects (InnovANCE ,Green BIM ) and European Projects (DIMMER; Cluster EEB). His latest research refer to the latest H-BIM applications, by including BIM methodology to the Cultural Heritage field. Author of more than 100 publications.

Working group@Polito

Paolo Piumatti, Associate Professor at DAD Department

Fulvio Rinaudo, Full Professor at DAD Department

Rosa Tamborrino, Full Professor at DIST Department

Michela Mezzano, PhD student at DAD Department

Noemi Mafrici, Research Fellow at DAD Department

Pablo Ruffino, PhD student at DISEG Department

Matteo del Giudice, RtdA at DISEG Department

Daniela De Luca, Research Fellow at DISEG Department

Andrea Tonin, Research Fellow at DAD Department

Michele Calvano, Research Fellow at DAD Department

Elisabetta Caterina Giovannini, Research Fellow at DAD Department

Alessandra Spreafico, Research Fellow at DAD Department

Giacomo Patrucco, Research Fellow at Geomatics Lab


Academic Partner 

Cartographic and Land Engineering Department of the University of Salamanca in Avila, Spain

Non-academic Partner 

Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizie di Torino, Italy

  • Budget: 129.500 euro
  • Start date: 15/09/2017
  • End date: 14/09/2019