LA Natural History Museum
June 3, 2024
Case Study

Partner: The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (NHM)

Project: theBlu immersive underwater VR experience

Introduction:The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (NHM) has a long-standing commitment to incorporating innovative technologies to enhance visitor engagement and education. In 2017, the museum partnered with Wevr, a leading virtual reality (VR) studio, to present an immersive underwater VR experience called "theBlu" as part of a temporary exhibit.

Background:NHM representatives discovered "theBlu" at the Sundance Film Festival and recognized its potential to captivate and educate museum visitors. The series, created by Wevr, offers an interactive underwater exploration that aligns with the museum's mission to inspire wonder and curiosity about the natural world.

Implementation:Wevr and NHM collaborated to design a dedicated VR installation space within the museum's temporary exhibit area. The teams integrated their expertise in exhibit design and interactive VR to create an environment that both contextualized and complemented the "theBlu" experience. The installation was carefully art-directed to ensure a seamless and engaging visitor experience.

During the nearly 8-week run in March and April 2017, over 5,000 museum visitors experienced "theBlu." The VR installation received an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees, demonstrating the power of immersive technology to engage and educate diverse audiences.

The success of the "theBlu" installation at NHM has prompted the museum's curation and marketing teams to express interest in future collaborations with Wevr. This case study highlights the potential for VR experiences to enhance visitor engagement and learning in museum settings. As technology continues to advance, partnerships between museums and innovative studios like Wevr can lead to the development of even more compelling and educational installations.

The collaboration between the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and Wevr on the "theBlu" VR installation exemplifies the successful integration of cutting-edge technology in a museum setting. By embracing innovative experiences like "theBlu," museums can attract and inspire visitors, reinforcing their role as vital institutions for learning and discovery in the 21st century.

“We felt Wevr's content could really help museum-goers relate to our permanent exhibits. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to create a pop-up VR exhibition in the Museum’s temporary exhibit gallery space. ”

- Neil Sadler, NHM Creative Director,Brand, Design & Digital

“I was really new to VR and I was pretty skeptical, but when I went toSundance my mind was blown. The thing about the blu was that I am ascuba diver and it was actually so similar to that experience. I just thought it was it much better than any thing else there.”

- Jennifer Morgan, Senior Project Manager

“People may come to this experience that may never have thought to come to the NHM, or maybe they come here and have no idea that this is going on and then this changes their perception of the Museum because they didn't know they could come here and havethat type of experience... When they leave the museum some sort of new curiosity sparked within them. I could imagine this is being more of apermanent fixture in the museum.”

- Gretchen Baker,Vice President of Exhibitions NHM