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Museum puts Gallipoli on show in Minecraft

Young masters of the art of Minecraft are bringing a digital dimension to Anzac Day this year.

Alfriston College students, who’ve already re-created parts of their school in the open source block structure building game Minecraft, have begun re-creating Gallipoli for an Anzac Day experience at Auckland Museum.

The collaborative project between the school, the museum and Auckland’s Media Design School started with a re-creation of the Anzac troops’ landing site at Gallipoli, which will be released for the public to experience online on Anzac Day.

The students have also built landing ships and battleships and will move on to artillery, then re-create historic sites beyond Anzac Cove like Walker’s Ridge, says Media Design School spokesperson Rebecca Emery.

“After that they’ll start populating the area’s with Medical houses and the like, and import animals, just increase the richness of the world,” says Emery.

The Alfriston students were contacted by the Media Design School for the museum project. “They were working on a similar project, rebuilding their college in Minecraft, so we contacted them to team up on this build, and it just so happened that the number of interested students and our capacity matched up.” Emery says.

If we had just turned over an empty map to the public and said, ‘build the Anzac landing’, they wouldn’t have really known where to start, there would be so much. So now that we have got nice big ships and the cove, it’ll help get people contributing, because they have a place to start.”

The Anzac world that has been created will also be used as an educational tool, sent to a number of schools to run Minecraft Courses using 30 educational licenses bought by the museum and loaned out. The project has attracted international interest from museum curators and archaeologists, says Emery.

“Our ambition is to work with other museums from Australia, Britain and all over the world on other projects like this. But for now it’s an Auckland Museum and Media Design School collaboration, so it’s special to New Zealanders.”

The full project is due to be finished in 2015 in time for the Anzac centenary. 

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