Take a walk through prehistory with Expedition Nebraska

History really does come to life when you're experiencing it in virtual reality.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Expedition Nebraska is your chance to see the University of Nebraska State Museum from a new point of view.

“You only see things, like our elephants, from one perspective”, explains Head of Exhibits Angie Fox. “We thought, ‘What would be an interesting way to bring the collection alive, and bring the museum alive?'”

How about walking above Archie? Or maybe you’d like to see just how the bones on display fit into the creature they belong to. Nebraska Public Media Labs took those real-life pieces and digitized them for your viewing enjoyment through the process of photogrammetry.

Chad Davis, Chief Innovation Officer at Nebraska Public Media, explains the process as “a software-based 3d modeling process where you take dozens to hundreds of pictures of an object, depending on its size”.

From there, the program stitches things together, a lot like the panorama mode on your smartphone camera, although it’s much more involved. The end result is an ever-growing virtual fifth floor of Morrill Hall, which you can visit online, on your smartphone app of choice, and soon, through your virtual reality headset.

“What we really hoped to do was start a collaboration that could go through the 2020s and into the 2030s, producing an exhibit each year”, says Davis.

Beyond that, this is just another aspect of the incredible staying power of museums and why they’re so careful in preserving the past.

“Somebody a hundred years from now might come back and unlock a whole bunch of new information using the specimens as clues to answer a lot of questions that are yet to be discovered”, Fox says.

Whether it’s through a headset or through hands-on research, Nebraska’s specimens should be here for the long haul.

To visit the virtual museum, check out Nebraska Public Media’s Expedition Nebraska page. To see the real thing, you can check out the University of Nebraska State Museum page.

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