Holograms take you to a faraway Arctic marsh.
Connecticut maritime museum Mystic Seaport is opening an exhibit that uses Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset to let guests walk into a tundra through holograms and spatialized sound. The experience, called Murmur: Arctic Realities, is set at a frozen marsh 80-miles north of the Arctic circle.
Nicholas Bell, Mystic Seaport’s senior vice president of curatorial affairs, told VRScout in an email that Murmur is a “milestone for this museum.”
“You will see water, you will see the tundra, you will hear the birds,” Bell said. “This whole added layer of technology takes you to a part of the world that few of us will ever get to see.”
But the HoloLens isn’t the star of the exhibit. A physical “massive hand-crafted sculpture” will greet guests and then “transport you to the higher Arctic,” Bell said.
Artist John Grade carved the sculpture from Alaskan yellow cedar wood in the likeness of a pingo — a mound of ice that takes centuries to grow. Visitors will enter the sculpture and watch it literally open and unfold in a testament to the ice structure’s diminished lifecycle in the era of climate change.
“The HoloLens then adds a layer to that transportation — you are able to see holograms that will contribute to your sense of being at the top of the world,” Bell said.
Other exhibits have also turned to the HoloLens. Earlier this year, we reported on an art gallery in Manhattan using the headset, and a Dutch antiquities museum is also exploring how it can enhance its galleries.
“This technology has been out there for a couple of years, but putting it in the hands of an artist so everyone can experience it is new,” Bell said.
And Bell said their 85-year-old museum plans to feature more augmented and virtual reality exhibits in the future. He also said people who see the upcoming Arctic exhibit are in for a surprise.
“I anticipate that people will be shocked, and I hope they are,” Bell said. “I believe that part of the culture of museums is to provide an environment where we go to be shaken out of the complacency of our everyday lives.”
Murmur: Arctic Realities will run from January to April at the Collins Gallery at Mystic Seaport in Mystic Connecticut. A preview of Murmur debuted at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska earlier this month.
You can watch a video of the debut in Anchorage below.
Image Credit: Mystic Seaport