The goal of the project was to propose an innovative way to present ancient coins collection of a museum to better capture the interest of the visitors and to give them enhanced information, improving the current exposition setup. A coin is a very small artwork, which in a standard museum exposition is presented to the public from a distance (typically at least 50cm far from the observer eyes). This distance does not allow to the visitors to note some small and interesting details on the legend or on bas-relief and, moreover, the coin is usually visible only from one side. Furthermore, coins have a lot of hidden knowledge that is difficult to transfer to the visitors in an easy, effective and understandable manner.

We proposed the design and implementation of an interactive kiosk to allow the presentation and the virtual inspection of the coins collection. The kiosk is easy and intuitive to use for the ordinary public of the museum and it allows the real-time manipulation of the RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) image of each coin face with a set of basic operations like zooming, panning, flipping the coin, changing of the light direction. Finally the kiosk tells the story of the coins using multimedia data, with a combination of text, images and videos.

The system was used for the virtual presentation of a subseb of coins of Palazzo Blu and of the National Museum of San Matteo in Pisa (Italy). The kiosks are installed in the permanent exhibition of the museums and are available on the Web.

Palazzo Blu

The kiosk of Palazzo Blu allows the visualizzation of 42 coins belonging to the Simoneschi Collection. The coins are organized in four subset following a historical parameter: the coins of the Mediterranean in antiquity; Roman coins and medallions; Italian coins, medieval to modern; coins, oselle and medallions of Venice. The kiosk was funded by Fondazione Palazzo Blu.

Access to the online kiosk - Palazzo Blu

The following video was grabbed from a working session.

National Museum of San Matteo

The kiosk of the National Museum of San Matteo allows the visualizzation of 40 coins belonging to two different collections: the Supino collection and the Franceschi collection. The coins cover different epochs, from the Roman Empire to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (XVI-XIX centuries). Beyond the navigation of the two collections, the kiosk can present the coins according four thematic subjects: the coinage techniques; the coins of the Tuscany; the iconography subject; the value of the coins. The kiosk was funded by EC IST IP project 3D-COFORM (IST-2008-231809) and the Superintendency for Architectural, Landascape, History, Artistic and Etho-antropological Heritage for Pisa and Livorno - Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities.

Access to the online kiosk - San Matteo

The following video was grabbed from a working session.


Storytelling of a Coin Collection by Means of RTI Images: the Case of the Simoneschi Collection in Palazzo Blu
Gianpaolo Palma, Monica Baldassarri, Maria Chiara Favilla, Roberto Scopigno
Museums and the Web 2014 - February 2014

Telling The Story Of Ancient Coins By Means Of Interactive RTI Images Visualization
Gianpaolo Palma, Eliana Siotto, Marc Proesmans, Monica Baldassarri, Clara Baracchini, Sabrina Batino, Roberto Scopigno
CAA 2012 Conference Proceeding, page 177-185 - March 2012