Virtual reality weekend at the 
British Museum

8 – 9 August 2015
Samsung Digital Discovery Centre
 
Sponsored by Samsung

Through its work with technology partner Samsung, the British Museum is at the forefront of digital learning. The Samsung Digital Discovery Centre was created in 2009 to provide a state-of-the-art technological hub for children and young people to learn about and interact with the Museum’s collection. The creation of a virtual reality experience based on the British Museum’s Collection is the latest innovation of this exciting partnership.

The Virtual Reality Weekend on 8 – 9 August will be the first time Samsung Gear VR devices are used to engage families with British Museum collections. Visitors will be able to explore a virtual reality Bronze Age site designed by Soluis Heritage, where they will see 3D scans of objects from the Museum’s collection of this period, placed in their original setting.

Samsung Gear VR headsets will be available for individuals aged 13 or over to use. In addition, two other methods of accessing the virtual reality experience will be available: Samsung Galaxy 10.1” tablets and an Immersive fulldome. Family groups of 5 at a time can enter the fulldome, and use an interactive screen to explore the virtual reality world and 3D objects in the immersive experience.

Participants will be invited to navigate a virtual reality Bronze Age roundhouse within a settlement. Inside the house, visitors will be able to interact with 3D scans of objects from the British Museum collection.

The design of the Bronze Age roundhouse virtual reality environment has been informed by Dr Neil Wilkin, Curator, European Bronze Age collection at the British Museum. Participants will be able to explore multiple interpretations of how the objects might have been used in the past. Objects include two unique interlinked gold bracelets discovered at Woolaston in Gloucestershire, currently classed as Treasure, which the Museum hopes to acquire.

Visitors will also experience varied lighting and atmosphere, exploring a growing research area that suggests a ritual context to houses being aligned with the sun.

Chris Michaels, Head of Digital and Publishing at the British Museum, said: “The British Museum is constantly looking for new opportunities to innovate in the digital space. We are extremely excited to partner with Samsung on this virtual reality project. It gives us the chance to create an amazing new context for objects in our collection, exploring new interpretations for our Bronze Age objects. We can't wait to share it with our visitors.”

Andy Griffiths, President of Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland, said: “Samsung is delighted to partner with the British Museum on its first virtual reality visitor experience. Together, our aim is to use the latest technologies to enhance learning and provide children and adults alike with an immersive learning experience like no other. We're excited to see visitors delving into Bronze Age history in an immersive fulldome and through our Gear VR headsets and tablets. This will be a completely new way to interact with the British Museum’s collection.”

The 3D scans of Bronze Age objects have been created by the British Museum’s Micropasts project, a collaborative venture with the British Museum and University College London, which creates open data sources of scanned objects. More information about this groundbreaking project is available at micropasts.org.

Teaching Key stage 2 students (ages 7-11) about ‘Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age’ became a statutory requirement in 2014. This autumn the Museum will begin trialing the VR experience within the SDDC Schools Programme to assess the capacity of this technology to enhance students’ learning about the Bronze Age.

Notes to Editors:


About the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre

The Samsung Digital Discovery Centre at the British Museum was created in 2009 to provide a state-of-the-art technological hub for children and young people to learn about and interact with the Museum’s collection. Offering the most ambitious and extensive on-site digital learning programme of any UK museum, the SDDC runs thirteen different school programmes throughout the school year, and has family programmes operating fifty-two weekends a year. All activities are free and over 60,000 children and families have been welcomed to the Centre since it opened. Through its work with Samsung the British Museum remains at the forefront of digital learning. Recent innovations within this exciting partnership include the use of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to engage a new generation with the British Museum’s Collections.

Details of the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre programmes can be found here.

About Samsung's Citizenship Programmes

Samsung is committed to help close the digital divide and skills gap in the UK. Samsung Digital Classrooms in schools, charities/non-profit organisations and cultural partners provide access to the latest technology. Samsung also provides the training and maintenance support necessary to help make the transition and integration of the new technology as smooth as possible. Samsung further offers qualifications and training in technology for young people and teachers through its Digital Academies in London and Birmingham. These initiatives will inspire young people, staff and teachers to learn and teach in creative ways and to help encourage young people into careers using technology.

About Soluis Heritage

Founded in 2000 the Soluis Group comprises several operating divisions working from studios in Glasgow and London, and focusses on creating memorable experiences in digital communication, stakeholder engagement and entertainment for clients worldwide.

The key philosophy of Soluis Heritage is the enhanced, effective dissemination of information about heritage, architecture and artefacts to end-users and stakeholders. By leveraging an organisation’s archives, un-displayed exhibits and artefacts, point clouds, survey data, building records and archaeological analyses, we can create tools that deliver this information to disparate audiences in an intuitive, memorable and highly impactful manner. To this end, Soluis Heritage is pioneering workflows utilising a central visualisation environment, enabling simple distribution of content across multiple platforms, and delivering markedly enhanced user engagement & experiences.

For further information or images
please contact the Press Office on 020 7323 8522 or communications@britishmuseum.org
or Brunswick Arts on 0207 936 1290 or britishmuseum@brunswickgroup.com