Virtual reality has been going through yet another cyclical revival driven largely by improvements in hardware resulting in a new surge of public interest. But how can museums use virtual reality? Where are the truly exciting opportunities for museums? And how do we get beyond just having to manage visitor expectations and the resultant problems with ‘more tech’?
This panel brought together Tea Uglow from Google, Nils Pokel from Auckland War Memorial Museum and Sarah Tutton from ACMI.
Sarah Tutton: Hello, my name is Sarah Tutton and I’m the Senior Curator here at ACMI, so I do spend a lot of time in here usually for all staff, so this is a bit different for me. I am moderating the conversation this afternoon, which is called ‘VR – hype, hope or just hard?’ What we’re going to do is, have two presentations and then we’re going to have a conversation. The conversation is going to be between us on stage and between you people out there, so I think what we’ll do is, get the microphones roving out there after the presentations and we can all do it together. I should give you a bit of background about ACMI’s relationship to VR, it’s been quite a long relationship.
I work in exhibitions and my relationship with VR has actually been over, probably the last two years, but our public programmes team and our education team have been engaging with VR, with students, for quite a long time and making some really interesting work. But us, in exhibitions, it’s really been about commissioning work and presenting work in the last few years, some of which we will talk about today, and some of which has actually been in collaboration with our second speaker, Tee, but we can talk about that as things get going.
So, some introductions. Our first speaker, and I’m going to read these bios out, is Nils Pokel whose title is Digital Experience Manager at Auckland War Memorial Museum, which he might be able to explain a bit later, is actually the same thing as the Auckland Museum, which has confused me a little bit, where he is working both on permanent gallery development and temporary exhibitions. He consults with teams across the organisation working on a range of different, often storytelling, VR experiences. He is the resident futurist and he’s been driving the digital R&D programme in Auckland Museum over the last few years.
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