The Anglo Sikh Virtual Museum (ASVM) which brings to life Sikh relics and artefacts has been launched in Leicester.

Some of the objects are from the Sikh Empire and link the Court of Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) through to his granddaughter, the prominent suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948).

Objects like jewellery and weaponry have been made available from museums and private collectors and the project will, in the future, encompass other different types of relics.

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A launch event at New Walk Museum was hosted by Daljit Makan, who introduced speeches by Councillor Piara Singh Clair (Deputy City Mayor of Leicester), Chris Kirby (Engagement Manager, Leicester Museums) and Taranjit Singh of (Taran3d).

A discussion on the importance of using technology and preserving Sikh history and heritage saw panellists: Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar (Course leader of Religious Studies and Director of the Centre for Sikh and Punjabi Studies), Susan Stronge (Senior Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum) and Gurinder Singh Mann (Historian and Director of the Sikh Museum Initiative).

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Panellists agreed that there’s no substitute for viewing artefacts and relics in their natural form, Gurinder spoke about how 3D technology can allow one to preserve, manipulate, rotate, print and touch an object that would not be possible if the object was viewed in a museum.

Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar from the University of Wolverhampton highlighted how educational institutions use technology as a means to deliver course materials and many young children could be attracted to learn about Sikh history by harnessing 3D technology. 

Susan Stronge from the V&A Museum described how by accessing artefacts using such technologies, this could lead to many more people visiting museums to view the original object and this could increase footfall, especially amongst the younger generation.

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Guests at the launch had the chance to view the objects on touchscreen monitors and through revolutionary Virtual Reality headsets.

 The website was launched on the birthday of the Princess Sophia Duleep Singh by Kartar Singh(Sikh Museum Initiative). 

Refreshments were provided by Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara, Leicester. 

The Anglo Sikh Virtual Museum is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by Taran3d and many museums across the UK.

Find out more here