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.
Tennent, P., Martindale, S., Benford, S., Darzentas, D., Brundell, P., & Collishaw, M. (2020). Thresholds: Embedding Virtual Reality in the Museum. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, 13(2), Article 12. https://doi.org/10.1145/3369394