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Gradually, virtual reality penetrates our lives, even in areas that we could not even think about. Museums have traditionally been seen as strongholds of conservatism. All this pathos - "do not go beyond the limiting line", "do not make noise" - only discouraged visiting exhibitions. But the era of change is coming.
Museums and galleries want to attract visitors with cutting-edge technology. For example, in 2016, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia launched a series of events using virtual reality. Everyone can dive into the depths of the ocean, find themselves in remote areas of space, or find themselves inside the human body. All VR exhibitions are available for free.
Prospects for using VR in museums
Museums strive to convey information to a wide range of people, to show collections to the largest possible audience. VR is a great tool to increase outreach. Those who cannot afford a trip to a real location get a chance to get acquainted with the memos of antiquity.
More often, shooting in 360 is used to create virtual tours, because. it conveys the details of the exhibits as accurately as possible and is cheaper. Computer modeling is used a little less often.
The most interesting VR museums
1. Peterson Automotive Museum
The Peterson Automotive Museum collaborated with Microsoft HoloLens in 2017 to develop an amazing VR exhibition. Visitors had the opportunity to interact with the classic American sports car Ford GT40.
This supercar has a fascinating history. He became a multiple Le Mans race winner in the 1960s. For a clearer comparison, the guys from HoloLens placed the rarity next to the Ford GT 2017.
The purpose of the exhibition is to tell historical facts, combining real and virtual space. Surround sound was used to enhance the effect. While learning facts about cars, visitors can hear the roar of engines and the sound of tires sliding along the track.
2. National Museum of Finland
In 2018, the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki opened new exhibition of virtual reality. Visitors are transferred to the reign of the Russian Emperor Alexander II. The painting by R. V. Ekman "Alexander II officially proclaims the opening of the session of the Finnish Seimas in 1863" was taken as the basis for the VR environment.
The headset allows you to literally enter the image - to examine the hall and the people gathered there. Visitors can talk to the Russian Emperor and other characters depicted in the painting.
In the same 2018, the Smithsonian Institution held a number of innovations with the goal of introducing VR into a real exhibition. The exposition "Without Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" was chosen as a test. The tangible sculptures were on display at the Renwick Gallery until January 2019, and the VR version is available to visit indefinitely.
The legendary Burning Man festival takes place annually in the Nevada desert. The city of artists and party-goers grows from scratch. It is both an artistic event and a cultural movement. Installations are created only for the duration of the festival, and then most of them are burned.
The Smithsonian Institution's virtual collection features over a dozen incredible sculptures. Visitors will be able to feel the spirit of Burning Man. The VR Museum has an option to record VR experience.
4. Tate Modern
The management of London's Tate Modern has also decided to join the VR movement. They focused on Modigliani's work and life. Along with a retrospective of paintings, the VR visitor can immerse themselves in a 3D model of the artist's Parisian studio.
The actual studio where Modigliani once worked was used as the basis for modeling the virtual environment. And although the room still exists, it has undergone drastic changes. The gallery staff did a titanic job, restoring the interior details of the workshop.
5. National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History opened its first permanent VR exhibition in 2018. The installation is dedicated to evolution, the core theme of the museum.
When a visitor enters the virtual room, he is on a path of amazing discoveries. You can visually establish connections between species by examining representatives of different classes up close and on a scale.
The museum has turned to technology to help visitors better understand the collection. Complex concepts become more accessible.
6. Kremer Museum
The Kremer Museum does not exist in reality. It features over 70 paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters from the 17th century. In fact, their frames didn't even stand side by side. All masterpieces are dispersed in different parts of the world.
Such projects are of great importance for the spread of culture. For example, they allow people with disabilities to enjoy exhibitions from the comfort of their own homes. VR brings users to collections located on the other side of the world.
Conservatives worry that VR will reduce the flow of people to stationary museums. But it's not. On the contrary, after seeing an exhibit in virtual reality, many people want to see it live.