See How Museums are Incorporating Virtual Reality Into Exhibits

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If there’s one thing that you take away from our virtual reality coverage, we sincerely hope it’s this: that the potential of VR reaches so far beyond gaming.

Virtual reality has officially arrived in museum settings, allowing for unprecedented levels of artefact inspection and interaction from museum visitors, and paving the way for the future of art appreciation.

Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) hosts the “Small Wonders” exhibit, a collection of highly detailed 16th century wooden prayer beads. These Gothic prayer beads, shaped somewhat like a pocket watch, open to reveal two meticulously hand crafted images of biblical figures or scenes. The AGO, in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Labs and Seneca College, recreated one of the prayer beads digitally using micro-computed tomography scans. The result? A 360 degree, three-dimensional replica of the bead fully observable in virtual reality.

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Interacting with art.

By donning a VR headset, museum visitors can explore every facet of the bead up close and personal. Upon clicking an “explore” queue above the bead, the bead will dissect into layers that allow the Gothic creation to be viewed from previously unseeable angles. With literally no restriction, guests can see the shocking amount of detail put into each of the miniatures that compose these prayer beads first hand.

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Small Wonders: The VR Experience, “marks the first time anyone will be able to move through, around, and within one of these small wonders.”

Archaeology’s greatest adversary is preservation, and it’s with good reason that museum goers can’t freely pick up and play with objects that have thousands of years of human context etched into their every fiber. But with VR technology, visitors can come face to face with ancient objects, and museums can achieve a degree of public engagement like never before.

Check out the Small Wonders VR Experience below:


Corey van den Hoogenband is an archaeology student and technology nut, which is probably why he thinks the blending of VR and museum exhibits is the best thing ever. Talk to him about VR, archaeology, or whatever else you desire on Twitter @CoreyOnline or in the comments below. 
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