Title:Spotlight VR/AR: Innovation in transformative storytelling
Authors:Scott Gillam
Publication:Museums and the Web 2017: Selected Papers and Proceedings from an International Conference
Editors:Nancy Proctor and Rich Cherry
Publisher:Museums and the Web LLC
Published:Silver Spring

The latest in modern technology supports the oldest and most human form of communication—storytelling. Artifacts and artworks become tangible touchstones that connect visitors to human rights. Digital experiences through virtual or augmented spaces extend the boundaries of progressive storytelling and education, placing the visitor at the center of an experience. One of the great advantages of leveraging cross-media and non-linear storytelling principles such as VR and AR is the creation of multiple entry points to a particular subject or theme, and using a multiplicity of interactive technologies to find new ways of experiential storytelling—all within the context of the museum. We explore two case studies: The Weaving a Better Future VR experience, which transports the visitor to Guatemala, where they can learn about the lives, history, and culture behind the TRAMA Textiles cooperative in Quetzaltenango and a shop in Antigua called Textiles Colibrí. The shop provides much-needed income for the women artisans who both run the cooperative and produce the textiles for sale there, using their traditional Mayan weaving techniques. The Stitching Our Struggles AR app uses compelling works of art, powerful personal accounts, and augmented reality technology to tell the stories of people who have used art to expose truth and motivate action. Leveraging new participatory experiences has resonated strongly with visitors, and has not only enhanced the museum narrative, but also the creation of narratives by the visitors themselves.