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Thresholds: Embedding Virtual Reality in the Museum

Tennent, Paul; Martindale, Sarah; Benford, Steve; Darzentas, Dimitrios; Brundell, Pat; Collishaw, Mat


Paul Tennent

Sarah Martindale

Steve Benford

Pat Brundell

Mat Collishaw


We examine the experience of Thresholds, a virtual reality (VR) recreation of the world's first photographic exhibition, which has toured to multiple museums. Following the method of performance-led research in the wild, we provide an account of the artist's design rationale and the experiences of visitors as the work toured. We reveal how the overlaying and juxtaposing of virtual and physical spaces established a VR architecture that underpinned the extended user experience. Overlaying was used to layer a virtual model onto a corresponding physical set to deliver physical sensations of touch and movement alongside visual and audio stimuli. Juxtaposition was used to embed the VR installation within the surrounding gallery space at each host museum, dealing with the challenges of entering, exiting, spectating, and invigilating the experience. We propose that museum designers can use these techniques to deliver VR installations that are compelling but also scalable and tourable.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 1, 2019
Online Publication Date May 30, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Mar 16, 2022
Journal Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage
Print ISSN 1556-4673
Electronic ISSN 1556-4711
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Article Number 12
Public URL