A number of museums and galleries have begun to experiment with the possibilities offered by virtual reality (VR) and its related technologies, including extremely prestigious institutions such as the British Museum. The latest to join the trend is the National Museum of Finland, who are using VR to turn back to clock.
With the opening of the new VR exhibit, visitors to the museum will be able to step back in time to the year 1863 by donning a VR headset and walking inside R. W. Ekman’s painting ‘The Opening of the Diet 1863 by Alexander II’.
The exhibit lets visitors get a unique view of the Diet of Finland, the legislative body that existed from 1809 to 1906. They will be able to speak with the emperor and representatives of the different social classes, or visit the Hall of Mirrors in what was formerly the Imperial Palace, now known as the Presidential Palace.
The VR experience forms part of a wider exhibition formed around 1860s Finland as an autonomous Grand Duchy of Russia. The aim of the exhibition is to blend historical artefacts with a digital world to give visitors the feeling of walking into history.
The VR experience was built by Zoan Oy, who are the largest VR studio in Finland. The company have made it their mission to make Finland into the most virtual society in the world.
This could be helpful in the Thematic Area 4 of the ViMM project, because Virtual Reality is used like a time machine, taking people back in time. More specifically it provides full immersion to the users, enhancing the feeling of presence that way, making them feel like they are really inside that painting. They have the ability of exploring the virtual area from every point of view and they can even interact with some people, making the exploration even more interesting. Elements like the exploration, for instance, belong to the gamification field. This immersive experience transfers knowledge about the past to the people in a fun and interesting way, which makes them adopt this knowledge in an easier and faster way.