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Title: Revealing the Bukit Brown Cemetery underground artefacts
Authors: Boisson, Gaetan
Keywords: Subject::Storytelling
Subject::Local history
Subject::Digital collections
Subject::Photographic materials
Issue Date: 4-Sep-2023
Publisher: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
Series/Report no.: 88th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), 2023 Rotterdam;Satellite Meeting: Innovative approaches in engaging people with local history and genealogy
Abstract: The Bukit Brown cemetery is an important historical site in Singapore that was preserved thanks to local activism initiatives seeking to protect it from urban developments in the city-state. While an highway did get built eventually over the cemetery, most of the site was preserved and only a minority of tombs (around 500 tombs) were exhumed to make way for the highway. The underground artefacts are most at risk of being disposed of and forgotten if they are not digitised. There are two main reasons for the vulnerability of the below-ground artefacts. First and foremost, given the nature of many of these artefacts, they cannot be kept under appropriate conditions given cultural taboos associated with them. Secondly, many of these artefacts are already deteriorating as a number of years has passed since they were recovered when the tombs were exhumed as part of the road project. Yet the story of Bukit Brown will be incomplete without the stories of the underground artefacts. During the documentation of tombs affected by the road project, a rich variety of artefacts were found, from personal items such as dentures, jewellery, shoes, belts, hairpins, clothing, to everyday or symbolic items such as miniature furniture, kitchenware and ceramic cups. Each of these items are reflective of personal lives in various contexts. Previous projects took care of identifying and cataloguing selected underground artefacts, a subset of which was prepared for 3D scanning through photogrammetry. This work was previously done under a National Heritage Board grant. Now that these projects have ensured the production of digital artefacts reflecting the underground objects, the project team is implementing an online platform with the aim to engage the general audience with the objects, through the use of digital storytelling. Making these items available online along with a story providing context will make this part of Singaporean local history available to a much wider global audience. However, the sustainability of online projects remains a challenge and the team is looking into the future challenges that this project could face for its own conservation. Keywords: Digital Storytelling, Local History, Hidden Collections, 3D assets, Photogrammetry
Appears in Collections:World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) Materials

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