Museum of Free Derry
The Museum of Free Derry opened in 2007 in order to tell the story of what happened in the city during the period 1968 – 1972, popularly known as ‘Free Derry’, and including the civil rights era, Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman.
The story is told from the point of view of those who were most involved in and affected by these events – the Free Derry community, and the Museum is situated in the heart of where these events took place, in a once-derelict housing block in Glenfada Park, in the middle of what was the Bloody Sunday killing zone.
The Museum of Free Derry wished to develop a fully interactive 3D VR tour of the museum which would provide a visually rich, account of major historic events. The aim of the project was to provide schools and visitors with a totally immersive tour of the complex, complete with archive footage and interactive features.
To assist and make their idea a reality Museum of Free Derry made contact with North West Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) who supported them through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by the Department for the Economy.
NWRC Creative Media Consultant, Aaron McKeever, and NWRC VR/AR Technical Consultant, Jim Murray, provided 60 hours of upskilling support in areas such as VR technologies, VR headsets and recording equipment, how to optimise VR content for various outputs, animation and placing custom built animations and motion graphics in a VR environment.
On completion of the project with the support of the NWRC and InnovateUs programme the company was able to successfully develop both a guided 360 video tour and a fully interactive 3D VR tour of the museum which the company will utilize for virtual tours. This product is cross platform and will play on a range of devices, desktops and fully immersive VR headsets.
Adrian Kerr, Manager at the Museum of Free Derry, described the benefits of working with NWRC’s Business Support Centre via the InnovateUs programme:
“Working with NWRC was a very positive experience for the Museum of Free Derry. It was clear from the beginning that they wanted to develop the virtual tour that was best for us, and as a result we now have a very useful addition to our digital offering that we are just about to roll out to the public. We have also been trained in how it was designed and developed, and are now much better placed to consider similar projects in the future. When we were discussing this with other local heritage venues we had no hesitation in encouraging them to contact NWRC about their own virtual tours.”