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Ottawa museums experiment with AR features

Several museums in Ottawa, Canada, are now experimenting with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) offerings to drive up the engagement among visitors and capture the imaginations of viewers over the Internet. Some of the notable offerings being showcased include antique cars, huge mammoths and visuals of disaster events.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is publicising its summer Ice Age exhibition with the use of AR technology. The use of this technology is improving relics at the Science and Technology Museum, which is part of the Ingenium Canada network of museums. Another museum, the Diefenbunker, is offering a feature that helps to submerge visitors in a simulation model of a Cold War emergency in the near future.

As more and more museums compete for visitors’ attention, there is a trend across the board of relying on both VR and AR-based activities to pique the interest of both visitors and online viewers. According to Ryan Dodge, Ingenium’s chief digital officer, phone users have become acclimated to AR tech instances following the big splash created by the release of the Pokemon Go application some years back.

Dodge, whose Ingenium branding covers several institutions, including the Science and Technology Museum, added that using immersive technologies such as AR and VR has proven to be instrumental in engaging visitors through their devices to gain in-depth information about the exhibits on display.

The Canadian Museum of Nature’s Planet Ice AR app was released. The software enables users to photograph creatures from the ice age in a wide variety of habitats and weather conditions. Viewers can get closer looks at majestic animals such as a sabre-tooth tiger and a mammoth.

In previous years, the Nature Museum has made use of employees wearing costumes to match its temporary displays. Some of these include polar bears, dinosaurs, several reptilian creatures from ancient times, and more, according to Laurence de Montigny St-Onge, the museum’s marketing head. The marketing team planned to prank the visitors regardless of their physical locations, using virtual creatures.

The museum has also made a recent announcement regarding a weekly summer contest in which individuals upload their images across social media to get an all-expenses paid hotel stay. According to St-Onge, the engagement so far is high and there have been more than a thousand application downloads.

St-Onge remarked that the museum is continuously fascinated by the new trends and looks for ways to implement them, both within the premises of the building, and also virtually.

The unique exhibit this year is called “Planet Ice: Mysteries of the Ice Ages,” and it continues till Labor Day. It is focused on action and explains the significance of glaciers and why they should not be taken for granted, due to the ongoing impact of climate change.

According to Sean Campbell, research and collections lead at the Diefenbunker in Carp, Ont., visitors will be transported to the Cold War in 1962 in simulated hazmat gear, in one of their virtual reality offerings.

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