With New Virtual Reality Initiative, Franklin Institute Raises Bar for Museums

A new virtual reality initiative from the Franklin Institute – including a permanent exhibit and a mobile app – will bring the latest in technology to thousands of museum visitors and countless others around the world, while creating a spark within the industry to drive innovation forward.

“It is about taking our mission to the whole world,” said Susan Poulton, chief digital officer. “And no limits.”

The comprehensive project includes the new “holodeck,” a virtual reality (VR) demonstration and lab space; the addition of VR components to the iconic Giant Heart, Your Brain and Space Command exhibits; and the museum’s first ever mobile app that offers its new science-based VR content library to anyone around the world with a smartphone.

“We want to educate and inspire people of all ages,” said Larry Dubinski, president and CEO of the museum. “When people think of the Franklin Institute, they think of interactivity and immersive experiences. This is another tool, another way to educate.”

The initiative also sets new expectations within the museum world, where adoption and incorporation of new technology has been slower than in other sectors, Poulton said, adding that the Franklin is also open to VR collaborations with companies, universities, startups and others.

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