Wevr’s theBlu at The Natural History Museum in Los Angeles
We believe intensely in the power of VR. It’s the reason Wevr’s iconic undersea experience theBlu is currently on exhibit at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This meticulously designed installation, the result of a collaboration between Wevr and the renowned museum, is one more step forward in our mission to bring quality VR to an ever broader audience.
VR has this incredible potential to not only entertain, but to education, inspire and enlighten. Currently there exists a vast disparity between desire and access. And we believe one way to bridge this gap is out of home VR stations. We did this first with an exhibition of theBlu at the famed aquarium in Dubia, and now at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.
VR its still a largely undiscovered medium,” says Wevr co-founder Neville Spiteri. “ We have done literally thousands of demos for people where we guide them through a high-quality experience. They inevitably come away with this sense of awe. But we also understand that it’s exceptional that they are able to even have this experience. And so we think the best thing for us to do is go to where the people are and actually set up venues and make it easy for people to access these experiences.”
With the Natural History Museum, we found a collaborative partner interested in utilizing theBlu as a way to engage a new audience and further the institution’s educational mission. “The museum is always looking for new ways to incorporate technology into what visitors may perceive as more static exhibitions,” explains Gretchen Baker, vice president of exhibitions NHM. “Some of the team saw the blue at Sundance last year and because of our strong marine research and collections area they saw it as a nice content fit for the museum. The hope is that people may come to this experience that may never have thought to come to the natural history Museum, or maybe they come here and have no idea that this is going on and then this change their perception of the museum because they didn’t know they could come here and have that type of experience and for all of them we hope that when they leave the museum some sort of new curiosity a sparked within them.”
The idea of using immersive media to create a sense of wonder and foster an emotional connection with the natural world is a desire shared by the creative team behind theBlu. As Jake Rowell, director of theBlu, explains, “We feel theBlu is a perfect fit for the Museum and its guests. It allows people to explore the wonder and mystery of the ocean through a series of habitats and come face to face with some of the most awe-inspiring species on the planet. And then take that same enthusiasm and see the museum’s other exhibits in a whole new light.Two years ago, it was our hope to create a virtual underwater experience for everyone to enjoy. And with the Natural History Museums help and support, our VR experience is able to reach an entire new audience. “
The installation at the NHM is presented in a thoughtful and creative manner that serves to accentuate the immersive power of the experience. The audience is ushered into a meticulously designed waiting area bathed in atmospheric blue light and featuring a wall of projected underwater footage along with beautifully iridescent jellyfish lamps and meticulously arranged marine specimens. The result is an environment that both focuses the viewer and contextualizes the experience. It is what a superior out of home VR experience can look like.
“One of the key points of our mission at the museum is to inspire wonder,” explains NHM creative director Neil Sadler. “We saw the content from Wevr and thought it was a really great partnership. I think this experience brings to life some of the key specimens we have here. The space gives it greater context. It helps the content of the experience to have the specimens around you, because people are seeing the larger than life underwater landscapes, and then actually experiencing it. We thought the opportunity of bringing something into a temporary space and using it in a very pop up manner, something nimble and collaborative, something like the Wevr content, that could really relate to the exhibits and be a perfect opportunity.”