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  • 1.  Virtual Reality Headsets

    Posted 10-04-2018 09:52 AM


    I am wondering if anyone is using Virtual Reality and/or Augmented Reality in your exhibits and how you facilitate it. We are prototyping VR head sets in our exhibits right now. We were hoping to have something that people could use on their own, but it doesn't seem user friendly enough. We are using Oculus Headsets to show a 360 video of our insects up close from inside of their tanks. People have trouble with the equipment and often exit the video to explore other things on the headset, get lost, and then return the headsets (now not set properly) to the head rest.


    We were wondering:


    What equipment is other using for these type of experiences?

    Do you have staff there to guide the experience or is it self-guided?

    How often and how do you clean your headsets?



    Thanks for your help!


    Parker McMullen Bushman

    Vice President of Programs, Interpretation and Exhibits, Butterfly Pavilion

    Pronouns: She/Her or They/Them
    Address: 6252 West 104th Avenue Westminster, CO 80020

    Office:  720.974.1863  Cell: 773-426-2738



    The Butterfly Pavilion is a non-profit, invertebrate zoo

    with the mission of fostering an appreciation of butterflies

    and other invertebrates while educating the public about

    the need for conservation of threatened habitats in the

    tropics and around the world.


    'If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world's ecosystems would collapse.' Sir David Attenborough


  • 2.  RE: Virtual Reality Headsets

    Posted 10-04-2018 10:28 AM
    We are prototyping a VR installation that will eventually allow up to five or six players to work together in the same virtual world fighting off the Kamikaze attack off Okinawa on April 11, 1945*. The prototype is a simple VR shooting game, using a generic 20mm machinegun in a generic environment.  This to get a sponsor for the larger, multi-player system.  Our plan is to have a dedicated staff person to aid with the headsets.  They can be tricky, but VR is a great way to immerse visitors in any environment we choose. 

    There is also a VR program called Google Cardboard that lets people use their smart phones. Not sure if it can be setup to use your program.  

    *The only plane off limits is the one that hit the ship!  Can't change history.

    David Beard
    Executive Director
    USS KIDD Veterans Memorial Museum
    Baton Rouge LA

  • 3.  RE: Virtual Reality Headsets

    Posted 10-05-2018 03:15 PM
    Hi Parker,

    Presumably you're using Oculus Go headsets? They're great value for a stand-alone untethered device. It's possible to configure them to play in essentially kiosk mode so that users can only access your content. This requires deleting all the other applications, like the browser, that are part of the normal consumer experience. If you want more info on this please contact me off-list. 

    You'd still need a staff member assigned to watch the equipment and clean it after every use.

    The Google cardboard experience could also work but requires you to publish an app in the app stores so people can download it on to their devices and then insert them into the Cardboard. It's not an ideal solution because people aren't crazy about downloading apps, and the Oculus experience is much less work for the user.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Robin White Owen
    M: 917/407-7641
    T: 646/472-5145

  • 4.  RE: Virtual Reality Headsets

    Posted 10-05-2018 08:53 AM
    Please reply to the list. We are interested in hearing what museums are doing as well. We've been designing an interactive VR experience on the James Webb Space Telescope and what it will observe that would work well in museums from a content perspective. However, we decided against aiming it at museum audiences. We were concerned about the lack of a social experience in its current iteration despite the ability to project what the user sees. As a result, we've been making some design decisions aimed at library audiences for the release scheduled in about a month's time. We'd like to adapt to a museum audience eventually if appropriate, but we need more information about the original questions.

    Tim II

    Timothy Rhue II
    Senior Informal Education Specialist
    Space Telescope Science Institute
    Baltimore MD

  • 5.  RE: Virtual Reality Headsets

    Posted 10-05-2018 09:58 AM

    We have used 360 underwater videos to have VR experiences at Shedd Aquarium and off-site in the community.  We happen to use Samsung phones and iDudu headsets. (They are relatively inexpensive, have built in headphones, and are easy to clean.)  We wipe down the headsets after each use with a food grade wipe from a restaurant supplier, since it touches people's faces.  We do have someone facilitating these, it has been staff or volunteers or teen work study participants.
    I wrote a blog when we first started using these tools:
    And here are tweets with these activities in action: 
    You can see many of these videos on the Learning with Shedd YouTube channel

    We also launched Keep Sharks Swimming this summer, which included 360 videos of sharks that people were encouraged to watch on their own phone and headset. 

    Other museums using VR you should check out:
    And follow #MuseumVR on Twitter for even more

    And AR:

    Let me know if you have any additional questions!

    Miranda Kerr
    Manager of Digital Learning
    John G. Shedd Aquarium
    Chicago IL

  • 6.  RE: Virtual Reality Headsets

    Posted 10-05-2018 03:33 PM

    I probably have more personal use than museum experience on this subject, but I thought that I would add in.  At one time, I suggested that my museum include some sort of virtual reality experiences using 360 photos and video to experience local places that they couldn't get to normally, like our collections or inside something like the Gibson guitar factory.  Beyond just the use VR headsets, I suggested the idea of also including Ipads to display some of the 360 content.  It wouldn't be quite as immersive, but would allow you to still look around the 360 degree world and be easier to setup/manage for multiple areas.

    I don't know what kind of setup you are using, but there are some standalone headsets from Oculus and Google Daydream that recently came out.  They are cheaper than the Vive and Rift that need to be tethered to a PC, and less clunky than a Google Cardboard setup.  Another suggestion, some of the Microsoft mixed reality headsets are going for cheap and perform all of their tracking from the headset.
    Oculus Go | Oculus
    Daydream - Standalone VR
    I have experienced the AR/Project Tango at the Detroit Institute of Art, which was pretty interesting to see.  I believe that they took my drivers license and in exchange gave me a phone with the Project Tango installed to use around the museum.

    Another museum that you may want to check out for VR use, is the Grand Rapids Public Museum.  They created a VR experience for their whale skeleton named Finny.  Meet Finny.

    Cody Cook
    Interpretation Specialist
    Kalamazoo Valley Museum
    Kalamazoo MI

  • 7.  RE: Virtual Reality Headsets

    Posted 10-05-2018 05:05 PM

    The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields recently re-opened its Design Gallery, which includes a VR experience that allows guests to tour inside of the Miller House, a celebrated Modernist residence designed by Eero Saarinen in Columbus, Indiana. The experience even allows guests to "go inside" of a dollhouse in the home.

    Our Curator of Design & Decorative Arts worked with Black Tent productions to film the home with a 360-degree camera, and the rest of the VR experience was developed in-house at Newfields Lab. Feel free to contact the Lab for advice. They've been approached by other organizations that have needed help with technology solutions for curatorial interpretation.

    Melissa Burlock
    Stewardship Coordinator
    Indianapolis IN