BC Sports Hall Of Fame takes exhibition to the VR world

The sprawling Indigenous Sport Gallery can now be experienced at home through immersive online and virtual reality features

As we delve deeper into the digital age, many museums and galleries are embarking on digitization projects that ensure their displays can be viewed anytime, anywhere.

The British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame has now joined the game, making the world’s largest known permanent exhibition dedicated to Indigenous sports accessible with the click of a button or the swipe of a thumb.

Anyone in the world can now experience the Indigenous Sport Gallery at the BC Sports Hall of Fame through virtual reality from the comfort of their own home.

“We wanted to find a way to get more British Columbians learning about the history of Indigenous sports,” said Shelby McCannel, project leader. “It was important to bridge this gap and provide learning to people who may not interact with us on a normal day-to-day basis.”

The digital version of the comprehensive exhibition includes a 360-degree virtual tour of the gallery, with additional features designed for the display not found in the brick and mortar building. This includes videos of 14 elite athletes and honorees, along with interactive 3D artwork.

The site is visually pleasing and easy to navigate, and also includes a timeline, interactive map, and vibrant illustrations from səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) artist Olivia George.

The online version was created to meet the needs of all types of virtual guests, regardless of their age or level of tech savvy, McCannell said.

“When we created the site, we took into account how each person has different levels of comfort with technology, as well as different ways to access it,” she said. “For the virtual tour portion, we have a desktop version that allows visitors to navigate and learn from the comfort of their homes, but then you can access the same virtual guide with a VR headset, and get that immersive feeling.”

For those who haven’t yet outfitted their homes with a futuristic VR device, the desktop component is equally immersive and engaging, MacCannell added.

The physical Indigenous Gallery, the largest recognized permanent exhibition dedicated to Indigenous sports in the world, was launched in 2018 as an expansion of the previous Indigenous Sports Gallery at the BC Sports Hall of Fame. The exhibit spans 1,500 square feet and features more than 40 former and active Indigenous athletes, including the likes of Terry Fox, Carey Price, Jack Bull and the 1936 North Shore Indians lacrosse team.

In his relatively short tenure, he has already received a host of awards, including the winner of the 2019 Canadian Museum Association Outstanding Achievement Award, in the Exhibitions category, and the 2019 World’s Best New Gallery Award, given by Heritage International. organized.

Although the virtual addition is a great accomplishment for the gallery, there is still no better experience than visiting the gallery in person and seeing the artifacts up close and personal, McCannel said.

She added that being able to share such important stories, regardless of the medium in which they are shared, is an honor for those in the gallery.

“It’s huge for us to be able to share these stories, because Indigenous athletes and their families in the Indigenous sports community have shared them with us,” she said. “We are pleased to be able to provide a place to display it.”

the The Virtual Indigenous Sports Expo can be accessed through originalsportgallery.com.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the Indigenous and civic affairs reporter at North Shore News. This rhythm in reporting is made possible by Local Journalism Initiative.


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