The latest in modern technology supports the oldest and most human form of communication – storytelling. Storytelling is at the heart of what museums do and virtual reality (VR) allows them to take visitors on a journey that starts inside the galleries and extends across the globe. Virtual reality pushes the boundaries of progressive storytelling and education, placing the visitor at the centre of an experience.

For their Empowering Women exhibition, the internal production team traveled to Guatemala and visited the villages, workplaces and homes of Maya women in weaving communities, resulting in the creation of Weaving a Better Future VR.

This project seeks to inspire people with the story of the Maya women of Guatemala, who hope their ancestral weaving traditions can create a better future for their children. These women use cooperative work to make a living, preserve their culture and heal from human rights violations.

Imagine being near a volcanic lake in Guatemala, or sitting in a kitchen while families prepare a meal. The VR experience will also transport you to the centre of a courtyard with women of different generations weaving together while children play in the background. The use of VR provides visitors the ability to have a deeper understanding as they are transported in time and place through immersive 360-degree video. It creates awareness that goes beyond examining an artifact or reading text on a wall.

Visitors can take this immersive journey using Gear VR headsets available in the exhibition with regular admission. To extend the availability of Weaving a Better Future you will need to install the free Google Cardboard app for iOS or Android, then install the free Weaving a Better Future app for iOS or Android.