Immerse Yourself In Virtual Reality Bronze Age Britain

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 26 months ago
Immerse Yourself In Virtual Reality Bronze Age Britain
See inside a Bronze Age roundhouse at the British Museum this weekend using virtual reality headsets. © Soluis Group Limited

Entering the Bronze Age roundhouse we almost step into an open fire crackling warmly in front of us. It's throwing flickering light on the wooden skeleton of the building, which is dimly lit by the sunlight coming through the open doorway.

Stepping round the fire there's an object glowing blue in front of us — a ceremonial dirk (a type of sword) and the fact it's glowing reminds us we're sat on a chair at the British Museum, a virtual reality (VR) headset strapped on, headphones clamped over our ears.

This is the museum's first foray into VR, and the inaugural event this weekend aims to help children get to grips with a period of history which is on the curriculum, but many find tricky. If it proves successful, museum staff say they'll use the technology more in the future.

Examining the dirk, a narrator in the headphones tells us more as we look at it in 3D. A quick swipe on the side of the headset and we're back in the roundhouse, peering round until we spot another artefact, shining blue.

Seeing the objects 'in situ' through VR really brings them to life and the novelty of the experience makes for a memorable learning experience. It certainly gave us an appetite for heading into the museum collection again, to explore this period in greater detail.

This weekend the Samsung Gear VR headsets will be available for over 13s to use, while younger members of the family can check out the objects using tablets, or via an "immersive fulldome", which can accommodate five people at a time. It's a first-come-first-served situation so be prepared to queue.

Virtual Reality Weekend at the British Museum's Samsung Digital Discovery Centre, 8-9 August, 11am-4pm. Entry is free.

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Get to grips with objects from the Bronze Age using 3D virtual reality headsets at the British Museum.
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A 3D rendering of a ceremonial dirk, created through crowd-sourcing for the MicroPasts project. © Trustees of the British Museum CC-BY.

Last Updated 05 August 2015