A new augmented reality art object has been added to ART+ app, which captures an important shift in the development of Liepaja – the creation of the Libau–Romny railway line. The new object is a life-size model of the historical train and it can be viewed in the garden of the Liepaja Museum using the ART+ app (available for free for Android and iOS. Links to the app on the website – www.artplus.app).

ART+ will work on iPhones released after 6S; a list of Android devices that will run the app available hers: https://developers.google.com/ar/devices#google_play_devices. ART+ will not run on devices that don’t support Google services.

Liepaja has may different faces, directions of development, departments, stakeholders, each deciding that their field of work is most important. Every resident of Liepaja is affected by almost all of these fields – home or work next to one of port terminals, education, culture and art, the beach, parks, public transport. We are currently living in an “interesting” time, where being so divided is even dangerous. Liepaja artists’ association ASTE wants to highlight various moments of Liepaja’s development and history a- other interesting moments –, which we think everyone living in Liepaja should know and will allow visitors of our city to better understand why Liepaja is the way it is. The 3D model of the train commemorating the development of the railway in Liepaja is the first of many planned augmented reality objects about the history of Liepaja.

Why is the train important?

The train and bus station, designed by architect Paul Max Bertschy, was built in 1871 for the Libau–Romny railway line. The building was built on an open, sandy site; over time, the city moved closer to the station and factories and two-story wooden houses began to be built around it. People from all over the Russian Empire came to Liepaja and settled in the houses of emigrants, others were waiting for ships to leave for America, others were building fortifications around the city. Around half a million emigrants left through Liepaja from 1906 to 1914. Thanks to the newly built railway line, the city experienced rapid growth – trade turnover in the port increased several times, new industrial companies were formed by attracting foreign investments, the Liepaja resort experienced its heyday. If in 1861, 10 thousand inhabitants lived in the city, then in 1914, around 100 thousand people lived in Liepaja (for your interest, a little more than 67 thousand people live in Liepaja at the moment).

How to view work in augmented reality?

  • The viewer will need a smartphone or a tablet (with GPS and internet connection). It should be mentioned that the application is about 300 MB in size, so we recommend downloading it using WIFI; however when running the app that is already on the device, it will still need an internet connection, but the amount of downloaded data will be small.
  • The viewer needs to go to the app store and download ART+. If you already have ART+ on your device, you need to go to the app store and update it.
  • A virtual object, such as the 3D model of the train, is located at a specific location shown on the map. The viewer must find this place in the garden of the Liepaja Museum and step onto the point, then he will be given the opportunity to press the button “View the artwork”. At this point, the object is placed on top or next to the viewer, and they can start their experience – walk around or enter the train (step inside the object), step back to see the object as a whole, or go closer to look at textures.
  • If something seems to have gone wrong, if the object does not look as it should, restart the app.

ART+ was created in 2021 with the support of the VKKF program KulturElpa.

In 2022, ART+ objects are being created with the support of Liepaja Municipality, Liepaja City Municipality institution “Culture Department”, Kurzeme Planning Region, State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia (VKKF) and Liepaja University. ART+ objects are created as part of the EIT Community New European Bauhaus project “Growing Food In Liepaja” and is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. The 3D train model was created in cooperation with Liepaja Muzeum.

The exhibition “Railway enters Liepaja (1871 – 1940)” can be viewed at the Liepaja Museum (Kurmajas pr. 16/18) until November 6, but the virtual 3D train model train can be viewed in the museum’s garden until the end of the year. After that, the train will be moved to it’s permanent location next to the Liepaja bus and train station.

Working hours of the museum: Wednesday – Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, Monday, Tuesday – closed.