AR/chive is a project which unlocks heritage films for viewing in augmented reality/AR. Over summer 2022, use your smartphone to access a series of archive films featuring Plymouth's postwar reconstruction, which are played out in the real world where the films took place.

Using a smartphone, passers-by will be able to scan a quick response/QR code displayed in five city centre spots and enjoy an old film which is screened in 360 view where the original film was taken. The project targets Plymouth’s newest Civic Conservation Area which stretches from Royal Parade to Hoe Park; an area which represents one of the country’s most iconic examples of post-Second World War reconstruction.

The films, which have been selected are from The Box's film archive, have been digitised as part of the British Film Institute’s Britain on Film with funds awarded from National Lottery.

Head to the following locations with your phone and scan the QR code to enjoy them:

  • Princess Street, opposite the fountain: Alice in Civic Centre Wonderland (1962)
  • St Andrews Church by Resurgam entrance: Plymouth’s Bombed Out St Andrew’s Church (1949)
  • Guildhall/flagpole: Secret Royal Visit to Wartime Plymouth (1941)
  • Theatre Royal Plymouth: Official Opening of Theatre Royal Plymouth (1982)
  • House of Fraser: Plymouth’s Dingles Department Store (1976)

The project will run until the end of September 2022 and will then be evaluated. Will Braddon Milon is the University of Plymouth’s MA Smart Urban Futures’ student behind the project.

Working together with The Box, we have been able to create an AR web application, using the museum’s vast collection of archived film content and a combination of A-frame, AR, JS, and Google Maps API technologies. By placing QR codes around relevant locations within Plymouth city, we are able to show the films within an augmented reality space, allowing them to be more accessible to the general public while also making them more engaging and interactive.

A man demonstrating augmented reality equipment to a woman

AR/Chive is a joint venture between The Box and the University of Plymouth’s iMayflower MA Smart Urban Futures’ programme and links to Historic England’s High Street Heritage Programme.

AR/Chive is supported by the BFI, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who fund the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England and Historic England’s High Street Heritage programme awarding National Lottery funds.