British Museum transports visitors to Bronze Age via virtual reality

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The Virtual Reality Weekend is the British Museum's first virtual reality visitor experience

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For all the textbooks and museums at our disposal, sometimes it can still be difficult to really imagine what life was like in an earlier time. Visitors to the British Museum this weekend, however, won't have to imagine. They'll be transported to the Bronze Age using virtual reality.

The Virtual Reality Weekend has been programmed with the British Museum's technology partner Samsung and is the museum's first virtual reality visitor experience. It will allow visitors to explore a virtual reality Bronze Age site featuring objects from the museum’s collection that have been 3D scanned and placed in their original setting using Samsung Gear VR headsets.

The 3D scans have been created by the British Museum’s Micropasts project, which creates open data sources of scanned objects, and will allow visitors to explore multiple interpretations of how the objects might have been used in the past. Among the objects featured will be two "unique interlinked gold bracelets" that were discovered at Woolaston in Gloucestershire, UK, and are currently classed as treasure.

The virtual reality technology will also allow visitors to experience variances in lighting and atmosphere at the Bronze Age site. This aspect is said to reflect a growing area of research into how houses are believed to have been ritually aligned with the sun.

The event is described by president of Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland Andy Griffiths as "a completely new way to interact with the British Museum’s collection." It will be held in the British Museum's Samsung Digital Discovery Centre, which was opened in 2009

In addition to the virtual reality experience, visitors will also be able to participate with the content using Samsung Galaxy 10.1-in tablets and in an immersive fulldome.

The Virtual Reality Weekend runs from Aug. 8-9 and is free to attend.

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