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Lethbridge Military Museum unveils new virtual reality exhibit to honour D-Day

This year marks 75 years since Canadians landed on Juno Beach during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, so the Lethbridge Military Museum is stepping up its game to introduce a brand new exhibit.It features an intricately designed and 3D-printed model of Juno Beach — tiny soldiers included — and a virtual reality experience that sends the viewer right onto the beach with narration about the war and letters from veterans. Valour Canada commissioned the VR software as an initiative to get students fully immersed in Canada’s military history.
Veteran observes the model of Juno beach at the Lethbridge Military Museum
Tiny model soldiers 3D printed for the new exhibit at the Lethbridge Military Museum
“We tried to replicate the environment so that when the kids take off the headset, they’ve learned what it was like, they’ve learned what the veterans experienced,” said Peter Boyle, Valour Canada’s president.“They’re able to better understand why we go to war and why we don’t go to war. They learn about the Canadian values we stand up for.” Though Lethbridge has been on the map for a while with VR gaming and college programs, this experience is something a little different.

“This is not a video game. The objective is not to gamify this,” Boyle said.

The VR Today. Currently Virtual Reality is growing in popularity and while companies like the Oculus Rift are losing some of their customers because of unpopular marketing practices, other devices, including the HTC Vive are taking the VR stage. Furthermore, with Google Cardboard creating the concept and other companies taking note, Smartphone Virtual Reality Goggles are letting consumers easily enjoy and experience immersive virtual and augmented reality. With huge consumer base, the multiple platforms for development, and the lack of many VR games and experiences, small start-ups as well as huge companies are investing huge amounts of money into the development of content for Virtual Reality, which might very well help VR finally achieve the world-wide recognition it didn’t manage to achieve on the market for years.

“The object is to teach the history. You’re listening to veterans tell their stories, you’re listening to diary entries, you’re staying on the physical beaches. It’s not violent, it’s not gory, but it’s a better look at what they experienced.”

The exhibit is on until Dec. 11, 2019.

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