For the first time ever, a museum is using virtual reality (VR) to bring Holocaust stories into the modern age, with the hopes that its history will never be forgotten. By Cailey Rizzo
Chicago’s Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is debuting the world’s first VR Holocaust memorial experience this month. With 360-degree sound and visuals, visitors to the museum will be guided around present-day preserved concentration camps by the people who survived them.
A tour through one of the darkest chapters in history
“The participant does not just see and hear the Holocaust Survivors’ stories through a screen,” Susan Abrams, CEO of Illinois Holocaust Museum, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. “Our VR technology transports the participants back to Holocaust sites today as they take a tour through one of the darkest chapters in history.”
The experience includes two different VR films which have been recognised at film festivals like South by Southwest, the Nashville Film Festival, and the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Short films at VR Holocaust memorial experience
Each of the two films is about 15 minutes long and follows a different Holocaust survivor.
The first, A Promise Kept, follows 13-year-old Fritzie Fritzshall as she “fulfils her promise to the 599 women who saved her life while imprisoned together.”
And Don’t Forget Me follows George Brent’s journey through the Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Ebensee concentration camps.
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According to the exhibit’s online description, the museum is using the technology to “revolutionise the fields of Holocaust memory and education” in “ways that will engage audiences well into the future.”
The VR videos are just one of the ways that the museum is using new technology to preserve the stories of survivors. At the museum, visitors can also “talk” to Holocaust survivors through holograms.
The exhibit opens to the public on 27 January. Advance reservations for the experience are required and available to book online.