The Mine Explorer: bringing the archive to life!
Experiencing historical coal mines, on the exact same location where the history was made! The Netherlands institute for Sound and Vision asked us to create an innovative experience around these mines, to complement their archive. The mines are not accessible for the public audience since they have been closed for over 50 years, so we brought them back to life in virtual reality by guiding users through a virtual recreation of the mine in a playful way!
The Dutch town Heerlen started the initiative called The Year of the Mines – shortened to M2015 – and was organized in response to the announcement of the mines closing 50 years ago. The Year of the Mine was celebrated by digitalizing the cultural heritage of the mining archive and by presenting the VR experience ‘The Mine Explorer’. The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision requested us to come up with an interactive way of bringing the archives back to life. We gave museum visitors the possibility to relive the dusty mines and see the lives of coal mine workers.
Virtual reality is all about being immersed into another world. We introduced visitors to the Dutch mines where they could relive history. For this case, we created a virtual mine environment and provided the hardware such as an Oculus Rift and PC, to deliver an all-in package to the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
The journey through the history of the mine starts when visitors put on the VR headset and step into a mining elevator, which in its turn descends into the dusty mines. After a short descent, the visitor finds himself in a mine cart that starts rolling. As the cart travels through the tunnels, a mine worker tells a story about their lives and work in the mines. Footage of the archive is showed during the historical mine cart ride. The Mine Explorer experience was exhibited at the Limburgs Museum and Nederlands Mijnmuseum to celebrate ‘The year of the mines’. Exploring mine history in virtual reality turned out to be a great intuitive way to engage museum visitors!
Curious what the mining experience was about? Get an impression below!