Imperial War Museums (IWM) launched a new 360 experience that revives a never-built national memorial to the British people who died during the First World War. The Hall of Remembrance is its title.

The British government financed the memorial near the end of the First World War, as a gallery for remembrance. Charles Holden designed the hall, and Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer, and John Singer Sargent were commissioned art for the project. However, the hall never came to be.

That changed several years later. Done up by Immersive Studios, the Imperial War Museums’ 360 experience is a virtual rendition of the Hall of Remembrance and its contents. Users can roam around the space, peeking at the paintings and observe the work around the area. The experience is intended to act as a virtual museum.

Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums and its foray into immersive tech

Alex Walton, Curator of First World War and Early Twentieth Century at IWM, said: “As the end of the First World War approached in 1918, time and money were in too short a supply for the British government to realise their plans for the Hall of Remembrance.

“Today, all that remains of the plans are the letters, documents, design and commissioned artworks. The works of art became part of the Imperial War Museums’ own collections.”

On a related note, I find the history behind art more interesting than the art itself. Characters in paintings can reflect real people. Additionally, its destruction, while sad, explores iconoclasm for building an identity.

Imperial War Museums

Therefore, recreating artwork with immersive technology is a logical next step forward for art. As a cultural institution, it is great to see museums embrace immersive technology. Time will tell on what comes next.

Tom Ffiske
Twitter: @TomFfiske
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