With a new 3D, interactive virtual museum, history lovers worldwide can now experience prehistoric Nebraska.
“Expedition Nebraska: A Natural History VR Experience” is a virtual extension of the University of Nebraska State Museum. Using a computer, smartphone or virtual reality headset, viewers from anywhere can see exhibits and fossils from different perspectives and “meet” Great Plains animals from millions of years ago.
The project is a partnership between the museum and Nebraska Public Media Labs, one of the first collaborations between a museum and a public media outlet. The goal is making the museum’s rich collections globally accessible and creating a repository of educational resources.
The team developed the virtual museum using photogrammetry, which stitches together many pictures of an object using specialized software. This allows viewers nearly 360-degree access to observe exhibits. Developers used 3D modeling, advanced audio techniques and a game engine to complete the environments.
Visitors can move through exhibits discussing Nebraska’s Sandhills and simulating the museum’s original location from 1871. The “Cave of Time” houses portals to seven prehistoric ages. Users can enter these fully immersive “bioramas,” encountering photogrammetrically rendered animal models in their environments.
The team will develop additional content for this experience over the next decade.
Nebraska news release: New virtual museum allows visitors to travel back to prehistoric Nebraska
Website: Expedition Nebraska
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