Could 2021 be the year that Virtual Reality goes mainstream? That’s what many people are predicting following the launch of the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. This achieved five times projected pre-orders as bored consumers looked to escape the boredom of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Museums have pivoted towards digital during the course of 2020, but many had been investing in virtual reality of several years with some impressive results.
Take for example Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. They launched a range of Virtual Reality experiences in 2016. As part of the installation, visitors can use VR to journey to the depths of the ocean, the far edges of outer space or even inside the human body. This technology allows people to be completely immersed in an interactive adventure. The Franklin claims these exhibitions will transform the visitor’s view of the world.
What does VR mean for museums?
Museums aim to bring collections to life and VR is an excellent tool for this. It offers a different experience – that of total emersion in an exhibit. Many museums around the globe are already embracing its potential.
The topic can seem like a daunting one. It’s easy to get confused by technical speak and new gadgets. But the concept itself is not that complex. Simply put, VR places the user inside an experience. It can be interactive or take the form of 360-degree video. VR is being used to create museum tours, make exhibits interactive, and to bring scenes to life. It can help curators to put objects in context and show their true scale.
Here are some great examples of how museums have embraced the rise of VR. These institutions have used technology to bring an extra dimension to their collections.
Virtual Reality Examples:
In the summer of 2021, London’s V&A opened Curious Alice an exhibition exploring the origins, adaptations and reinventions of the Lewis Carroll classic. Alongside galleries of illustrations, films, posters, manuscripts and costumes visitors were given the chance to immerse themselves in a playful virtual reality experience.