Every year in September, the 50 signatory States to the European Cultural Convention take part in the European Heritage Days – a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, putting new cultural assets on view and opening up historical buildings normally closed to the public.

The Heritage Days highlight local skills and traditions, architecture and works of art, but the broader aim is to bring citizens together in harmony even though there are differences in cultures and languages.

Since 1999, the European Heritage Days have a permanent slogan: "Europe, a common heritage".

This is a selection of EU co-funded projects focused on Cultural Heritage:

3D-ICONS Opens Up European Cultural Heritage

The 3D-ICONS Project has published several thousand different 3D models of culturally significant archaeological sites, monuments and associated objects across Europe. Along with over 17,000 images and 245 videos, around 3,000 3D records are available in Europeana, giving access to buildings, temples and monuments from famous sites such as Skara Brae, Skellig Michael, historic Rome, Herculaneum and Pompeii, some of which are inaccessible to the general public. Cultures such as the Etruscans, Dacians, Celts, ancient Romans and Greeks and early Iberians are represented by tombs and funerary items, jewellery, household objects and statues. In addition to real life models, there are also reconstructions, panoramas and time line models to explore. 3D-ICONS brings together partners from across Europe with the relevant expertise to digitise in 3D architectural and archaeological monuments and buildings identified by UNESCO as being of outstanding cultural importance. View the 3D-ICONS content in Europeana.

Cooltura is the TAG-CLOUD project app that will allow you to discover culture in a new way through the integration of social media, gaming, augmented reality and storytelling technologies.

The app has been developed in the two leading operating systems for mobile devices: iOS and Android. It will be released and launched to the public by the end of September at the same time as the Digital Heritage Conference, held in the city of Granada, Spain, where one of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of the TAG CLOUD project demonstrators is located: La Alhambra de Granada. The application will be available in the App Store and Google Play.

V-MusT.net is a Network of Excellence focused on Virtual Museums (VM), which are a new model of communication that aims at creating a personalized, immersive, interactive way to enhance our understanding of the world around us. Members of V-MUST.NET, the Virtual Museum Transnational Network, curated the ‘Keys to Rome’ exhibition, held simultaneously (September 2014-May 2015) in four different cities  representing ancient corners of the Roman Empire: Alexandria in Egypt (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), Amsterdam (Allard Pierson Museum), Sarajevo (City Hall) and, of course, Rome (Imperial Fora Museum).

Roman collections from the 4 museums were on display and shared through a stream of new apps and ‘immersive’ technology developed by the V-MUST.NET partners. The objects exhibited were discovered through a digital itinerary using computer graphics movies, natural interaction installations, multimedia and mobile apps.

Speaking of a different kind of cultural heritage, have you heard about Europeana Sounds? Now in its second year, the co-funded EU project is making leaps and bounds in filling a gap in audio heritage discoverable through the Europeana portal by opening up public access to Europe’s previously hidden and dispersed audio collections. This year saw the publication of a first batch of records on Europeana from libraries, museums and research archives from ten different European countries. The best music recordings within this have been included in a new Europeana music channel which showcases classical, world, traditional, folk and popular music, making it easier to find the music you want to listen to and bringing together for the first time music scores, photos of musical instruments and recorded examples of performances. To celebrate Europe’s sound heritage and its work so far the project will host a free international conference, Europeana Sounds 2015: The Future of Historic Sounds in October 2015 in Paris and registration is open now. Further information on the project via twitter @eu_sounds or the project website.

Project PERICLES

PERICLES addresses digital preservation challenges in two domains: digital artworks, such as interactive software-based installations, and other digital media from Tate's collections and archives; and experimental data from space science. Software-based artworks form an excellent example of the challenges implicit in managing digital objects because they are intricate systems exhibiting complex behaviours and dependencies, such as evolving hardware and software or the history of visitors' interaction with them. One of the key challenges involves developing a programme that predicts the impact of change within a digital system. Case studies from Tate's collection, for example Michael Craig-Martin's ‘Becoming’ (2003), show how virtualisation – a strategy to extend the functioning of original software, making it independent from specific hardware whilst documenting the system – can maintain the software’s function and the artwork’s significant properties.

Project EEXCESS

Its vision is to reveal and interconnect the treasures of European culture, science and education.

European museums, archives, libraries hold vast resources of cultural, scientific and educational content—historical sound recordings, images of sculptures, films, sheet music, scientific research, and much more. This highly specialised, carefully curated content is still largely untapped and invisible to the general public. EEXCESS connects these valuable resources with the mainstream content available via internet giants such as Google, Facebook and Wikipedia. The simple principle is: taking the content to the user, and not the user to the content. EEXCESS develops tools that bring the information directly to the users’ working environment, on their favourite platforms (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and their preferred devices (tablets, smartphones etc.). Instead of navigating through a multitude of libraries, repositories and databases, users will find relevant information in their habitual environment.

The Chrome extension, one of the tools developed so far is the most feature-rich prototype which provides you with automatic recommendations from cultural and scientific databases, while you are surfing the internet on your familiar websites and platforms.

More about Digital Culture in the Digital Agenda for Europe.