Science

National Museum of Australia brings Antarctica to Canberra with new virtual reality experience

Antarctica Glacier

Journey to the coldest place on earth, walk amongst penguins in their natural habitat, gaze at the brilliant colours of the Southern Lights, see frozen ice fields from the cockpit of a soaring helicopter and land on remote glaciers.

In a ground breaking first-ever 360-degree virtual reality depiction of the stunning southern continent, The Antarctica Experience was officially launched at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra – its first east coast showing.

The film is the creation of Perth-based explorer, producer, director and writer Briege Whitehead and BAFTA award winner, Phil Harper, who used the latest technology and 4K high-resolution images to capture the ice-covered continent.

Visitors will experience life as a researcher and scientist, cruising icy waters on a tour of secluded bays, extracting frozen core samples from the solid ground, and have exclusive behind-the-scenes access to one of Australia’s permanent research stations in Antarctica.

Equipped with headsets, visitors will marvel at the remarkable sights of Antarctica with simultaneous vision and theatrical surround sound.

National Museum Director, Dr Mathew Trinca, said he was excited to bring this unique virtual reality experience to Canberra.

“The Museum has a well-earned reputation for embracing new technology and providing innovative ways for our visitors to experience Australian stories. Virtual reality provides a unique opportunity to explore remote regions of the earth that are difficult to access for the average person,” said Dr Trinca.

“Without making the journey, there is no better way to experience Antarctica than through this new immersive documentary. The Antarctica Experience allows visitors to explore the mysterious continent and discover the amazing lives of our Antarctic scientists,” he said.

Co-director of the film, Briege Whitehead, wanted to create an immersive experience for audiences to bring people as close as possible to the beauty, power and importance of Antarctica.

“It’s not on everyone’s doorsteps, but filming in 360-degree stereo video, people can visit penguin colonies, fly over glaciers, see the midnight sun and hear directly from scientists and expeditioners in a way that is completely unique to this spectacular frozen continent,” said Ms Whitehead.

“When you’re there, it’s hard not to be moved by the epic location and it was a privilege to have been able to capture Antarctica in this way,” she said.

Western Australian Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman, said: “It is fantastic to see a Western Australian initiative featured here in the National Museum of Australia.”

“The Antarctica Experience is a wonderful digital innovation that has already been experienced by thousands of people visiting the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle, and I am pleased to see that, as a result of our partnership with the National Museum of Australia, it will be enjoyed by thousands more,” he said.

The Antarctica Experience comes to Canberra after a premiere, sell-out season at the WA Maritime Museum in Perth.

The Antarctica Experience will be on show at the National Museum of Australia until the end of June 2019.

This virtual reality experience follows previous virtual reality offerings at the National Museum including David Attenborough’s First Life and Great Barrier Reef Dive, Collisions, and Space Descent.

Bookings essential. See the Museum’s website for details.

Source: NMA

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