First things first, what is Extended Reality (or XR)?
XR is a relatively new and exciting field of technology. It is the blanket term covering Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality. Virtual Reality involves placing users within a fully digital environment. Augmented Reality consists of adding some virtual elements to a person’s actual surroundings. Finally, Mixed Reality is a merging of the physical and digital, where objects co-exist in both worlds; for example, you’re playing a virtual video game, but you could pick up a real stick next to you and throw it for a virtual dog to catch. With XR providing many new ways to see and interact with the world around us, it’s easy to see why museums jump at the opportunity to use it to help explore their collections.
How does the Mary Rose Museum use Extended Reality?
XR offers endless possibilities for adding new depth to interpreting artefacts and archaeology and creating immersive experiences that visitors can enjoy and learn from. However, it can be easy to see XR installations as a gimmick; there only to be an impressive piece of tech for visitors to comment politely about how ‘cool’ it is. And while, yes, it is indeed very cool, at the Mary Rose Museum, we only use XR which will bring a new way of looking at the Mary Rose and her story. All our XR displays and exhibits from the CCIXR act as a tool to bring visitors closer to the stories and history of our collection.
The eXRe development team used software called Unreal Engine to create a 3D underwater environment, depicting a diver’s perspective of the Mary Rose on the seabed. This environment has then been transformed into some different interactive experiences using some exciting technology!
Let’s have a closer look at some of the fantastic temporary XR exhibits you can come and see at the Mary Rose.