Artifacts Alive

Tales through Time
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Andrea Carver

Programming, 3D modeling, UX

Kevin Chan

2D graphics

Lauren Kenes

Background asset management

Maximillian Loveman

Script, voiceover

Rachel Askenazi

Marketing strategy

In the fall of 2017, I enrolled in the project-based Making Virtual a Reality marketing class at my school. I joined a multidisciplinary team with members from computer science, marketing, graphic design, and screenwriting. Our initiative campaigns for museums to be more interactive and accessible.

Digitized artifacts from Artifacts Alive VR experience.

Instead of shielding ancient artifacts behind walls of glass, virtual reality allows museum visitors and researchers to experience digitized copies in their own hands.

Library scene from Artifacts Alive VR experience.

We utilized a rare opportunity offered by our own university library as a case study. The Hannon Library’s special collections department houses thousands of rare, ancient artifacts. Each and every artifact is available for student viewing. Consulting with our librarians, we developed a complete VR experience, Artifacts Alive, to showcase a few select artifacts. Unreal Engine 4 powered our experience.

Our VR experience begins in a familiar library setting where participants can walk around and pick up artifacts. Upon grabbing an artifact, the entire scene transforms into a setting appropriate for the selected artifact. Now in Shakespeare’s living room, a Civil War tent, or Japanese garden, narration and infographics offer additional information.

Click to zoom

I utilized my prior experience working with VR as the main technical developer. We 3d-modeled digital versions of the chosen artifacts, arranged more 3D assets to create the historical scenes, and programmed how the scenes would link and how the user would interact with the artifacts.

Virtual reality expands access to historical artifacts by allowing them to be experienced anywhere in the world.

We debuted Artifacts Alive at our library and attracted 50 people who tried the VR experience. Finally, we presented our project to an industry panel who were impressed with our project’s scale.

Photo from Artifacts Alive debut event.