Coming to a museum near you…virtual reality tours. Boston-based HistoryView.org is partnering with the Texas-based Metroplex360 to create 3D tours of museums, art galleries, historic sites and more.
Brian Lyra and Elizabeth Benoit, the co-founders of HistoryView.org, came up with the idea when Lyra was a real estate photographer after he created a virtual tour of a historic home he was selling. Benoit, a teacher, recognized the educational potential for virtual tours.
“I showed her the virtual tour and she looked at me and said ‘you know, we should make field trips out of this’,” Lyra said. “The next day, we formed a Delaware corporation.”
HistoryView.org has already partnered with 360° photographers around Texas to create virtual tours of the NASA Shuttle Fuselage Trainer in Houston, the 12th Armored Division World War II Museum in Abilene and the Museum for East Texas Culture in Palestine.
Metroplex360 is gearing up their photographers to capture even more. Chris Hickman, the founder of Metroplex360, said they recently finished a virtual tour of Riscky’s Bar-B-Q in Dallas, Texas.
“This is one of the spaces that we’re excited about putting on HistoryView because it’s a historic tourist location and I think it’s kind of a kitschy, fun way to start in Texas,” Hickman said.
For now, their focus is on the Dallas area, where the company is headquartered. However, they hope to start capturing as much of Texas as possible.
“I think it’ll almost be like a strange little addiction of ours,” Hickman said. “We want to go spend all day 3D-scanning historical places. At least, that’s what I hope.”
Part of the reasoning behind creating the tours is the idea that being able to experience a place virtually might make people more inclined to actually go visit it, thereby increasing tourism to that location. However, HistoryView.org’s main goal is to be an interactive tool for teachers to use in the classroom.
Nicholas Clayton, a special education teacher in Victorville, California, said the virtual tours benefit his class is more ways than one.
“It is very visually stimulating. A lot of my students learn through pictures and learn through a lot of different ways other than through traditional ways,” Clayton said. “Because they are special education students, they have a lot of different learning needs.”
This isn’t Clayton’s first time using technology in his classroom. He said interactive learning has a bigger impact on both education and teaching.
“I’m a big nerd and techie so I think that I go to the technology first and foremost and I think that it becomes a better experience for me as a teacher as well,” Clayton said.
Lyra said it’s not uncommon for him to receive positive feedback from teachers.
“These students don’t like to read. But then we put them in the VR headsets and they go to the Rosa Parks Museum and they start reading off the wall and asking ‘did MLK really say that quote?’,” Lyra said. “So it’s like we’re able to trick them into learning basically.”
HistoryView.org and Metroplex360 hope to feature Austin’s capitol building as their next virtual tour. In the meantime, Lyra added that teachers should send him suggestions of what they want to see next.
Students from around the country are exploring many unique places from all corners of the world through the VR Field Trip program. The service is being offered by HistoryView VR as a means of bringing students to special sites that they might not normally have easy access to.
With the HistoryView app, students can explore many places around the world. The VR experience provides students with a special way to see the world. It is easier for students to enjoy learning when they are in an immersive environment and they can see everything they want to interact with. Best of all, HistoryView expands the field trip experience well beyond just the local spaces that students might regularly travel out to.
HistoryView is currently looking for people who can scan museums, historic sites, and other places of interest. The goal is to get a larger variety of places included, supporting more virtual field trips for students to enjoy and explore.
How Does This Work?
The HistoryView VR group allows students to travel to amazing places from around the world from their classrooms. Technicians with HistoryView support the system by using Matterport cameras to scan indoor and outdoor environments to create three-dimensional reality models. These models bring students towards many of the most exciting places in the world.
With the HistoryView app, a student will wear the VR goggles that are linked up to the app and then move around to see different places in a fully immersive environment. The scenes change based on the student’s movement around the virtual area. Students can see everything that is in local space and get a firsthand view of everything that makes such a space special.
What Places Are Covered Right Now?
The types of places that students can explore during their virtual field trips include some unique sites and scenes around the world. Students can travel out to museums, art galleries, and historical sites.
The VR Field Trip program offers VR experiences in many places on all continents. Museums, caverns, school sites, statues and memorials, and major parks are all highlighted on this app.
People who visit historyview.org can learn about the various places that are currently covered within the program. These are divided into many categories and cover all sorts of interests. Kids can visit the high school gym in Ohio that LeBron James played at or see fine cars at the Mercedes-Benz Museum of South Africa. Kids can also go around the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and see its immense body and detailed features, including the bell’s famous crack. Art galleries like the gallery as the Christie’s Auction House in Hong Kong can be explored as well.
All of these spots are available to all students who have access to the VR program. There’s no need to worry about a school getting lots of kids to travel out to some space, let alone have enough room for all of them to fit into some potentially fragile or cramped spots. Every student will be free to roam around the places they visit.
Who Can Contribute?
HistoryView is looking for Matterport Service Partners who can help with scanning art galleries, historic sites, classrooms, and other places of note. The new experiences being promoted through the HistoryView system will encourage kids to learn more about the world around them.
HistoryView always adds new field trip destinations based on the suggestions of the public and from the world of contractors who can help. Matterport Service Partners can contact HistoryView to join the network and to produce new field trips. The MSPs can help with producing the programming designed for these VR tours so students can see more of the great places that they are going to learn about in the classroom.
Those who are interested in producing new field trips for HistoryView can visit historyview.org for additional details. The CEO of HistoryView can also be directly contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group is always happy to find new ideas and suggestions for trips and activities that highlight everything that makes the world special and unique. The goal of HistoryView’s efforts is to bring students to more exciting places throughout the world. Check them out at www.historyview.org
I am a special education teacher with a classroom of 4-6th graders. I have students that are all on free lunch, many with single parents, parents on disability, working two or more jobs each, and many of them have never had the opportunity to leave town, let alone our state or country. I am always seeking out new technology to bring the United States and the world to the classroom. I love to share new tech with my district as a technology coach and my global Personal Learning Network through my Professional Development events. I am fortunate to have the support of technology companies adding multiple VR devices and software to my classroom.
During my technology expeditions a year and a half ago, I found a brilliant website called HistoryView.org and have been in techno-love every since! HistoryView provides my classroom with a unique opportunity that I don’t get with most virtual field trip programs. Throughout the school year, HistoryView allows my students, on the many types of devices, to take field trips through museums and landmarks that are not available to them and that they, more than likely, will never get to visit in their academic lives (or in future for that matter).
These trips have been invaluable learning experiences for them. I use the program to take field trips in 360 on Chromebooks and students are able to walk through the civil rights exhibit at the Henry Ford’s Museum. We were close enough to read the plaques in the museum, giving students an in-depth tour and learn everything… on a web 360 picture… which is unheard of!!! I am able to utilize our VR devices to have students walk through the Rosa Parks bus and be immersed in the historical significance that sparked the civil rights movement. Being able to lead this lesson in VR is a huge moment in my teaching career because so many of my students connect with the struggle for human rights because we are located in an area that is impoverished and still sees human rights suppression. I owe this moment to the powerful teaching tool, HistoryView, and I love the fact that they bring the site to myself, and to the many other very interested teachers I speak to worldwide, FOR FREE!
HistoryView also has hot spots with website information, videos guiding through historical heritage sites, and interactive elements that keep my students very engaged and excited. Students ask me almost every day if we could take another field trip! I am always so excited to do another one, that I would say yes, but would realize I have to limit trips to my state curriculum.
HistoryView has so many experiences and I want to see many more, so I am working on a list of sites I want them to go to. They have told me and other teachers they go out to other sites and have responded to our inquiries! I will continue to use and recommend HistoryView.org to the thousands of educators I meet throughout my Professional Development events every year, that is how big of an impact HistoryView has had on my school year. Thank you HistoryView!