How do you put water back in a Roman baths? This was the challenge presented to the team when re-interpreting the remains at Caerleon.
As actual water wasn’t an option, a projection system complete with atmospheric light and sound was installed to create the illusion of people exercising in the natatio (swimming pool). Words swirl around the swimmers, giving snippets of information about how the baths were used. The impressive end result ensures every visitor, regardless of age, leaves the monument understanding the purpose of the building.
The projection is complimented by a variety of other interpretation. An extensive handling collection of replica artefacts allow visitors to touch and learn about a range of everyday Roman objects. The items include weapons, clothing, cooking utensils, writing equipment, jewellery, glass and pottery. Visitors can also pit their wits against each other on four animated touch screen games. Players must pick a character before testing their knowledge of the baths through quick fire multi-choice questions. Elsewhere the stories of the baths are told through panels, audio posts and humorous silent films. Even the seating is Roman; the benches are based on designs found at Herculaneum.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. The site has attracted great online reviews and has been complimented for its accessibility.