The Friends of J Ward Museum virtual tour is now live.
In late 2020, the Victorian Government released a grant, Let’s Stay Connected, to assist regional councils in engaging with communities throughout the pandemic and beyond. Ararat Rural City was a recipient of the $9,000 grant and used it to create a self-guided virtual tour for the historic asylum J Ward Goal in collaboration with Macutex.
When the pandemic hit, chief executive officer Nathan Edwards saw an opportunity to assist businesses and attractions to reconnect with their communities. Macutex invested heavily in digital technology as a tool of trade to help clients access their building portfolios anytime, anywhere.
The first organisation Macutex assisted was the Shrine of Remembrance in early 2020. The company’s role was to support the iconic building by creating a digital model for their commemorative ceremony for Anzac Day.
“The Macutex team arrived as a professional group of people who worked collaboratively with us to understand our needs. They build something that gave us a solution for all our different audiences,” said Shrine of Remembrance chief executive officer, Dean Lee.
Macutex continued to support organisations in Victoria throughout the pandemic to assist them in reaching their target audiences through innovative technology.
In December of 2020, J Ward and Macutex partnered to create a virtual tour giving more people the opportunity to visit the iconic site. Digital Asset Officer Alper Kantarcioglu supported the project and made the J Ward virtual experience using 360 imagery and laser scanning technology.
“There is a lot involved with creating a digital model. First, you need to collect the data and sometimes rely on good weather for the best results. Then, a particular level of expertise is involved in developing a digital model, which also requires creativity — especially when overlaying the user interface. The end result is the most exciting part, though, because we can deliver a tool that provides value to our clients,” said Alper Kantarcioglu.
Moving forward, you can visit the iconic site from the comfort of your home. It includes a video intro by long-time volunteer Ken Richie and a site map to refer to throughout the self-guided tour.
“In this time of restricted travel for many Australians and indeed people around the world, the Friends of J Ward are very pleased to have this additional resource to show off Ararat’s premier tourist attraction. The virtual tour of J Ward will give prospective visitors a taste of what they will see when they visit this unique facility. While nothing beats being here in person and getting an hour and a half tour from a guide who has an intimate knowledge of the buildings and grounds and can tell any number of surprising stories, the Virtual Tour will take people throughout the complex and allow them some insight into this intriguing part of Victoria’s history,” said Friends of J Ward President Peter Waterman.