The basic idea of a hologram is an apparition of something that does not exist but appears as if it was just in front of our eyes. These illusion techniques were invented a long time ago. The philosopher and alchemist Giovanni Battista della Porta invented an effect that was later developed and brought to fame by Prof. J. H. Pepper (1821–1900) and applied in theatrical performances. The innovation nowadays consists in the adopted technology to produce them. Taking advantage of the available digital technologies, the challenge we are going to discuss is using holograms in the museum context, inside showcases, to realize a new form of scenography and dramaturgy around the exhibited objects. Case studies will be presented, with a detailed analysis of the EU project CEMEC (Connecting Early Medieval European Collections), where holographic showcases have been designed, built and experimented in EU museums. In this case, the coexistence in the same space of the real artifact and the virtual contents, and interior setup of the showcase, its dynamic lighting system, the script and the sound, converge to create an expressive unity. The reconstruction of sensory and symbolic dimensions that are ‘beyond’ any museum object can take the visitor in the middle of a lively and powerful experience with such technology, and represents an advancement in the museological sector. User experience results and a list of best practices will be presented in the second part of the paper, out of the tests and research activities conducted in these three years of the project.
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