Interactive Features for the VR Tour of a National Historic Landmark

3D scans alone are very useful for bringing a space into the world of VR, but it’s even better when there are interactive features that allow someone to learn more by engaging the interpretive context of the space more deeply. That’s what we’ve done for the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. This astonishing 333-foot neoclassical temple to the memory of the first president of the United States features an impressive central hall dominated by two beautiful murals and a colossal statue of Washington himself.

Sadly, the Memorial has been closed due to the pandemic several times, and is not currently open to the public. However, thanks to our extensive scan of the building’s many galleries and floors, it is possible to visit it virtually! In the main Memorial Hall area, interactive features lend context to the site, allowing the virtual guests to do things like watch a documentary video on the restoration of one of the murals, look at a list of museum donors (and become one also, if so inclined!), and learn the history of the landmark’s 1923 cornerstone.

Check out the VR tour of the central Memorial Hall and enjoy the interactive components. It’s just a taste of what will be possible with more extensive VR/AR features in the future.  https://mpembed.com/show/?m=ZNbQeN5twXc&mpu=584

 

Moreover, virtual tours can be used to record important renovation work, as seen here when we captured the work being done to remove six large stained glass windows for later conservation. Only in the virtual tour could a visitor get so close to these works of art. See for yourself at this link: Virtual Tour of Stained Glass Windows North

And for more of our VR scans of this truly inspiring building, see the Memorial’s extensive Virtual Tours menu!

Print Collateral Example—A Nonprofit Annual Report

Every year, one of my favorite tasks is to create the lavish annual report for this non-profit. It gives me a chance to sharpen my Adobe Suite skills (especially InDesign and Photoshop) to order to put the organization in the best possible light. It’s also an opportunity to showcase the photography that I have taken throughout the year. Producing a top-class product is a great way to thank the museum’s generous donors and supporters!

View a PDF version here:
https://pdfhost.io/v/q3FjM.z7F_2020_Annual_Report_of_the_George_Washington_Masonic_National_Memorial.pdf

Virtual Tour of the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum

The Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum is operated by the City of Defiance in Ohio. One of Palladian Virtual’s first projects was to bring this collection into virtual reality. Visit using your Oculus headset, PC, or tablet and learn about the history of this fascinating community along the Maumee River.

3D digital twin scanning is not just for major museums! Collections of all sizes can benefit from being brought into spatially-interactive formats. Best of all is when interactive features and augmented reality development is brought to bear on a museum like this. I’ll be working on that in the future. In the meantime, enjoy the virtual tour!

 

A VR Tour of One of Detroit’s Most Astonishing Buildings

In downtown Detroit, the magisterial Detroit Masonic Temple stands as an elegant meeting place for special occasions and concerts. The complex includes a 16-story, 210-foot tower which features beautiful historic interiors that are used for many purposes. Additionally, the structure contains an immense, 4,000-seat auditorium that provides a fantastic concert venue. This building is only open for tours twice a month… but with XR technology that is about to change.

Recently, we had a terrific opportunity to visit this neo-gothic masterpiece and take extensive photogrammetric scans of many of its ornate interiors. The result is that much of this important historic edifice is now available to all the world in 3D/VR form. Each of the rooms is linked separately below:

 1. The Greek Ionic Lodge Room
3D LINK: https://mpembed.com/show/?m=5JsGogKhqH1&mpu=584

 

2. The Doric Lodge Room
3D LINK: https://mpembed.com/show/?m=rkwT5WV3uQy&mpu=584

 

3. Ionic Lodge Room

 

4. The Chapel

 

5. Romanesque Lodge Room
3D LINK: https://mpembed.com/show/?m=9ZaetH3pCMm&mpu=584

 

6. The Corinthian Lodge Room

 

7. The Tudor Lodge Room
3D LINK: https://mpembed.com/show/?m=1H4ugKxvu8j&mpu=584

 

8. The Royal Arch Chapter Room
3D LINK: https://mpembed.com/show/?m=TwvGhHJbwmU&mpu=584

 

There’s a lot more to explore in this building and we’re hoping that we can revisit it soon!

 

The Lee-Fendall House Museum Goes Virtual


The Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, located in Alexandria near Washington, D.C., interprets American history through the experiences of the people who lived and worked on the property from 1785 to 1969. The walls tell many stories, and the exhibits allow visitors to experience a vivid window into the past. However, this museum—like most during the pandemic—has had to restrict the number of visits at times. A great solution to that is virtual visitation made possible through the 3D/VR digital twin. My XR consulting business, Palladian Virtual, recently helped out the Lee-Fendall House with a careful scan of the rooms.

Next up will be text and other features that will allow visitors to delve even more deeply into the rich history of this home and its occupants.

Visit the virtual tour on your PC (or, even better, use an Oculus Quest for the VR experience): The Lee-Fendall House Museum Virtual Tour

Fundraising Example—A Lavish Wall Calendar

Sometimes there’s no replacement for a nice gift in the mail! As 2021 approached, I gathered my finest photography and created a special wall calendar that was mailed to thousands of households across the United States. The results were impressive: not only did we increase our active donor base by 13 percent, but the mailing resulted in 2,684 gifts totaling over $306,000—all of which can now be applied to the museum’s restoration efforts.

About Me

I am a museum professional living in the Washington, D.C., metro area, and a recent graduate of Harvard University with a master’s degree in Management. The focus of my academic work at Harvard has been strategic management and leadership, with additional coursework in non-profit fundraising as well as the use of advanced technology in museum settings. I am intrigued by the application of emerging technologies in the museum space, particularly AR and VR. XR in general is, assuredly, the way forward for cultural institutions. In my spare time, I help museums and historical resources large and small take their first steps into XR. I am deeply interested in how these tools can make cultural heritage more accessible, and how XR can make remote visits to cultural sites more social.

Since 2012, I have worked at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The Memorial is a major museum in the Capital region, and was recently minted a National Historic Landmark. I created a VR-based tour of the Memorial when the pandemic began, and it quickly became the way most people visit the museum. Check out the links in my blog for more information on my recent work.

Shawn Eyer, ALM ’21
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawneyer/