Pros-Eleusis: The transformation of Eleusis into an ecomuseum

During the commemorative celebrations for the twenty-year anniversary of the Interdepartmental Postgraduate Studies Program “Protection, Conservation, Restoration of Monuments” of the Faculty of Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, a conference was held to highlight the program’s interscientific features and its contribution to the protection and enhancement of monuments and cultural heritage.

Dr. Despοina Tsiafaki, archaeologist and Director of Research at the “Athena” Research Center, presented a paper titled “Pros-Eleusis: The transformation of Eleusis into an ecomuseum” in order to disseminate the methodology and participatory activities of Pros-Eleusis, which aims at establishing a digital ecomuseum in Eleusis.

One of Pros-Eleusis’ main goals is the design and development of an innovative technological mobile phone app that will provide the visitors of the Eleusis ecomuseum with personalized tours in order to improve the tourist/cultural experience.

The project implementation methodology follows an iterative and user-centred approach in conformity with the relevant good practices for software and experience development. In this context, the project began with an inventorisation of potential users’ requirements in Eleusis; this process enabled us to develop an Ecomuseum Presentation tool, as well as all the accompanying directed tours in the city.

One of these directed tours, inspired by the archaeological remains in Eleusis, was evaluated in situ by users (residents, workers, and visitors).

Initially, participants were provided with mobile devices equipped with the Pros-Eleusis app. Subsequently, they were able to visit the tour’s points of interest accompanied by a member of the project’s research team, who was responsible for recording their comments during the experience.

Finally, the participants were invited to fill out a structured questionnaire to provide us with additional information regarding the app’s positive and negative aspects, as well as any comments they had on the content of the points of interest.

Some of the comments included the following remarks:

  • “I knew nothing about the Hagios Georgios square….even though I live in Eleusis. Pros-Eleusis provided me with more information. The text in the points of interest offered me extra knowledge on many levels”
  • “Interesting information, flowing narrative, great chronological scope” 
  • “The app’s usability is a positive contribution to the whole experience”
  • “I would like to see more points of interest like Hagios Zacharias in the main square or the surviving ancient ruins throughout the city”
  • “Even though I was following this particular route, I would have liked to be able to see what other choices I have…nevertheless, I enjoyed the fact that the tour had distinct content”

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