BBC Brings Civilisations AR to iOS and Android

Last month VRFocus reported on the BBC announcing its first ever augmented reality (AR) app for mobile devices,  Civilisations AR. Developed by BBC Research & Development, BBC Arts and Nexus Studios the app has launched today for iOS and Android.

Civilisations AR image1

Developed as part of a major collaboration between the BBC and more than 30 museums and galleries as part of the Civilisations FestivalCivilisations AR features over 30 artefacts from museums across the UK that have been digitally scanned and are now available to view in 3D.

Exhibits include a fourteenth century Italian sculpture of Madonna and Child from the National Museum of Scotland, Turner’s painting Bridge over the Moselle from the Oldham Museum and Art Gallery, an ancient Egyptian mummy from the Torquay Museum and the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum.

The app marks the launch of new arts and culture series, Civilisations, which begins on BBC Two tonight, with the full series due to be available on BBC iPlayer. The series follows presenters Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga as they travel far and wide across six continents to find answers to fundamental questions about human creativity.

“We’re thrilled to have started our augmented reality journey with Civilisations AR,” said Eleni Sharp, executive product manager for BBC R&D in a statement. “The app enables users to explore an amazing range of exhibits, while enabling the BBC R&D team to experiment with a new technology and test how a new format can complement a linear show. However, this is just the first outing for the app. We’ve designed and built it to be a totally reusable product, and we will be looking to use develop more AR projects in the future once we have had the chance to analyse the data from this one.”

Check out the full list of exhibits included in Civilisations AR below. While this might be the first AR app from the BBC, the broadcaster is well versed in virtual reality (VR), creating apps like Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, The Turning Forest, and a Doctor Who experience. For any further BBC VR or AR updates, keep reading VRFocus.

Artefact Museum Location Origin Year
The Clonmore Shrine



Ulster Museum, Belfast United Kingdom 650
Tea Pot



Ulster Museum, Belfast United Kingdom 1808
Carved Ivory Salt Cellar



National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Nigeria 1550
Madonna and Child



National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Italy 1350
The Kiss by Rodin



National Museum Wales, Cardiff France 1898
Crested Firedog



National Museum Wales, Cardiff United Kingdom 50
Hippo Bowl



Manchester Museum, Manchester Egypt 3500 BCE
Sundial from first railway station


Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester United Kingdom 1830
Bridge over the Ticino by Turner


Gallery Oldham, Oldham Switzerland 1842
Tang Dynasty Horse



Gallery Oldham, Oldham China
Ebenezer Elliot bust



Barnsley Museum, Barnsley United Kingdom 1800
Zeus Ammon



World Museum, Liverpool Egypt 100
Statuette of Horus the Child


World Museum, Liverpool Egypt 300 BCE
Lady Emma Hamilton as a Bacchante by Vigée-Le Brun



Lady Lever Art Gallery, Wirral United Kingdom 1782
Gandahar Sculpture



Oriental Museum, Durham Pakistan 200
Roman Statue of Mars



The Yorkshire Museum, York United Kingdom
Open Work Head by Moore



The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield United Kingdom 1936
Reclining Figure by Moore


The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield United Kingdom 1934
Mother & Child by Hepworth


The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield United Kingdom 1963
Christ Washing Disciple’s Feet by Tintoretto


Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead Italy 1547
Ogoni Mask



Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby Nigeria 1900
Oak Samson Statue



Norfolk Museum, Norwich United Kingdom c.1600
Corinthian Helmet



Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter Greece 1000 BCE
Gelede Mask



Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter Nigeria 1850
Peruvian Stirrup Stout Pot


Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter Peru 1450
Roundway Beaker



Wiltshire Museum, Wiltshire United Kingdom 2000 BCE
Divination Bowl



Bristol Museum, Bristol Nigeria c.1860
Corinium Cockeral



Corinium Museum, Cirencester United Kingdom 150
Mummy in Egyptian Coffin


Torquay Museum, Torquay Egypt
The Rosetta Stone



The British Museum, London Egypt 196 BCE
Roman Hunter God



Cumming Museum, London United Kingdom 150
Gold Trophy Head




The Wallace Collection, London Ghana 1850
The Blood of the Redeemer by Bellini



National Gallery, London Italy c.1460
Japanese Gun Powder Flask


Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Japan 1640
Octopus Storage Jar



Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Greece 1400 BCE
Reliquary Casket of St Thomas Beckett


Ashmolean Museum, Oxford France 1200
Red Figure Neck Amphora


The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge Greece 470 BCE
Iznik Jug



The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge Turkey 1592
Māori ‘God Stick’ Tiki Wanaga


Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Colchester New Zealand
Titus Flavius Demetrius



Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Colchester Egypt
Native American Mask



Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Colchester USA