A Major New Interactive Exhibition About Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral
National Building Museum’s First Augmented Reality Exhibition
Building Museum’s First Augmented Reality Exhibition Opens in Washington, DC, on 3rd Anniversary of the 2019 Cathedral Fire and Transports Visitors through the Structure’s 850-Year History.
The National Building Museum brings French heritage back to life with a major new exhibition, Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition, a 360-degree augmented reality immersion into the 850-year history of the cathedral and its ongoing restoration.
The innovative installation is designed and produced by Histovery, a French start-up, in collaboration with the Public Institution in charge of the conservation and restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral. L’Oréal is the exclusive sponsor of the exhibit.
The first interactive exhibit at the National Building Museum
The exhibition’s North American debut at the Museum is on the third anniversary of the 2019 fire that ravaged this UNESCO World Heritage site and runs through Monday, September 26, 2022. This visually stunning experience is the first interactive technology exhibition on display at the National Building Museum.
To navigate the exhibition, each visitor will use a HistoPad™, an augmented reality touch-screen tablet developed by Histovery. The hand-held device creates immersive and interactive reconstructions, visually transporting visitors back in time.
Visitors can choose their own experience to explore the cathedral being built in the Middle Ages, witness the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I, see the iconic Viollet-le-Duc spire being erected, or be guided through the complex operation designed to safeguard the structure since the fire, before the start of the restoration. The innovative and intuitive Histopad experience appeals to visitors of all ages, regardless of their comfort level with technology. Visitors can choose between eleven language options, and a self-guided children’s virtual treasure hunt encourages exploration of the cathedral’s history and identification of items secretly imbedded within the augmented reality screens.
Vinyl replicas of the cathedral’s flooring, stained-glass transfers on the Museum’s historic windows, audio of Notre Dame’s organs and tolling bells, as well as a projection of the cathedral’s famed rose window that miraculously survived the fire complete the multi-sensory experience.
The exhibit will have many portals.
Large photo panels and 3-D models of the cathedral and its decorative details — including a full-size chimera and statue — serve as visual cues and “portals” for the Histopad’s immersive explorations into this 12th-century cultural and architectural masterpiece. Interactive reconstructions show how builders and craftspeople laid the first stones in the 1160s, constructed the Gothic Choir in 1180, the arrival of the Holy Crown carried by Saint Louis in 1241, the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I in 1804, and illustrate the building’s ornate evolution with the addition of the towering spire in 1859.
Visitors can scroll through a timeline of the cathedral’s construction history and select options on each screen for more detail. They will learn about the cathedral’s complex architectural structure and construction techniques — including the remarkable design and engineering of the flying buttresses, which left very little margin for error.
On April 15, 2019, the world watched as a fire ravaged Notre Dame, tearing through the 12th-century cathedral, destroying two-thirds of its roof and collapsing its world-famous spire. The exhibition revisits this tragic day and provides an up-close look at the brave Paris Fire Brigade, who battled the blaze for hours to preserve as much of the building and its treasures as possible.
The current restoration of the building is a significant focus of the exhibition.
The HistoPad technology allows visitors to see workers in action reconstructing the elaborate architecture and rebuilding this sacred cathedral, including the stabilization required after the fire ended. The experience provides insight into how the restoration team uses historical and scientific evidence to inform the ongoing work to repair the cathedral.
“The National Building Museum is the perfect venue for this exhibition to debut in the US,” stated Bruno de Sa Moreira, Co-founder, and CEO of Histovery. “The Museum was established to preserve and celebrate the building arts, and its mission is to inspire curiosity about the world we design and build. That focus, and its commitment to prioritize the role of innovation in their programming, is in total alignment with our goals.”
“We are thrilled to bring this premier exhibition to the United States and believe it provides a new way to experience one of the world’s most iconic buildings,” said Aileen Fuchs, the National Building Museum’s President and Executive Director. “Visitors will experience first-hand how technology can contribute to our understanding of buildings. The exhibition's unique and immersive virtual nature provides a window into this World Heritage site.”
Histovery invents Augmented Visit and revolutionizes cultural visit experiences with the HistoPad. The touchscreen tablet uses augmented reality to travel through time and offer immersive experiences reconstructing the history of places and collections in museums, historic monuments and exhibitions.
The company provides a full Augmented Tour service, including content creation, scientific validation, IT development, equipment installation and maintenance, statistical analysis of behavioral data, and regular updates. HistoPad enables sites to grow visitor numbers by attracting new audiences and winning their loyalty.
Created in 2013, the multi-international award winning HistoPad is currently deployed in fifteen museums and monuments in France, including the Château de Chambord, the Palais des Papes in Avignon and the Conciergerie in Paris, as well as two sites in Germany, and used by more than two million visitors a year.
ABOUT THE PUBLIC INSTITUTION
The Public Institution is responsible for preserving and restoring Notre Dame de Paris.
Established on 1 December 2019 and placed under the direct supervision of the French Ministry of Culture, the Public Institution is responsible for conducting, coordinating, and implementing studies and operations instrumental in the conservation and restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral.
L’Oréal has devoted itself to beauty for over 100 years.
Research and innovation, and a dedicated research team of 4,000 people, are at the core of L’Oréal’s strategy, working to meet beauty aspirations worldwide. L’Oréal is a donor to the restoration of Notre Dame de Paris and the exclusive sponsor of the exhibition.
Friday – Monday, 11 am – 4 pm. After June 1 – Thursday – Monday, 11 am – 4 pm.
Top: Using a Histopad™, a visitor views an augmented reality simulation of the construction of Notre Dame de Paris in the exhibition. Credit: Histovery
Middle: Fire that ravaged Notre Dame on April 15, 2019. Credit: Patrick Zachmann
Bottom Left: National Building Museum Exhibition logo. Credit: Histovery and National Building Museum
Bottom Right: Notre Dame’s western rose window. Credit: Gigascope
ABOUT THE NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM
The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, planning, and design is essential for everyone. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, we welcome visitors of all ages to experience stories about the built world and its power to shape our lives, communities, and futures—public inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nbm.org. Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.