The Museum of London is Recreating the Great Fire in Minecraft

By Julian Benson on at

The Museum of London has teamed up with a group of Minecraft builders to recreate London in all its 1666 glory. They're then going to burn it all down. Over and over again. You know, for education.

The exhibition is called Great Fire 1666 and will be released online, rather than needing you to travel into London to see it. According to the museum's press release, players will be able to "walk down the streets of London, interact with the very people of 1666, combat the flames, and rebuild their own vision of the capital".

The project will be split over three different maps. The first, based on Wenceslaus Hollar’s map of burnt London, shows players what the city was like before the fire:

zmap-4-18-e1402061133285

The city will be dotted with audio clips that players will need to search for, each giving a little explanation of what they're able to see around them. As well as lessons on the architecture, the audio will detail the elements that combined to create the fire - wooden houses, a long hot summer, ender dragons, narrow streets, etc.

The next stage, out in September, has players trying to fight the fire. They will apparently also get to meet famous figures of the time, which has me looking forward to coming face to face with a block-headed Pepys.

The final stage is all about the rebuild of London, where you'll essentially become Christopher Wren and try to fill in the gaps left by the fire.

It sounds like an excellent project, and a really good use of Minecraft. I'm most excited for that first map. Getting lost in old London looking for audio diaries is right up my street. If it works well, I hope more museums will consider trialling the method for their collections.