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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Jamestown Rediscovery Premieres New Virtual Experience for Visitors

The virtual tour of the Voorhees Archaearium was created using high-resolution 360-degree photos that were stitched together. (Image courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation)

JAMESTOWN — Jamestown Rediscovery recently completed an expansive update to the Digital reDiscovery initiative thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The new virtual reality tour of the Archaearium was developed by Senior Staff Archaeologist and Photographer Dr. Chuck Durfor.

According to Jamestown Rediscovery, using high-resolution 360-degree photography, Durfor captured the interior of the Archaearium’s exhibits in detail, resulting in an immersive, self-guided tour of the museum containing many of its most significant artifacts recovered at the first successful English colony in North America. Audio introductions to each gallery and bonus content further highlight the moment of discovery and give users the opportunity to learn more about the history of Virginia Indians, European colonists, and enslaved Africans.

The virtual tour is available at no cost to any user with an internet connection and Jamestown Rediscovery said it represents a new level of public outreach at Jamestown.

“Through this new VR tour, we can share our amazing archaeological finds with everyone around the world,” said Durfor. “The high-resolution images permit users to zoom in on the fine details of the smallest artifact and read every label. As an image-based tour, it’s also accessible to people with a broad range of backgrounds and knowledge of this history.”

Senior Archaeologist and Photographer Chuck Durfor who produced the virtual Archaeanium (Gabriel Brown/Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation)

In addition to bringing the Archaearium into the digital world, the grant enabled Jamestown staff to enhance the on-site experience through the use of QR codes, accessible via smartphone, allowing visitors to view bonus video content while touring the museum.

The site now includes four tours:

  1. an archaeology tour
  2. a first-person tour with Anas Todkill, a soldier who came to Virginia in 1607
  3. a tour that explores the relations between the Powhatan chiefdom and the European settlers
  4. a tour that examines the arrival of the first Africans in 1619

Visit Historic Jamestowne for more information on the Archaearium Virtual Tour.

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