Development of new virtual reality technology for an exhibition on ancient Egypt at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
With Virtual Reality, students can directly interact with distant times and places, giving them greater understanding and empathy for other cultures. Egyptian religious performance and ritual were central to the culture, and monumental temples were their dramatic performance spaces. The Earth Theater at Carnegie Museum of Natural History supports the Virtual Egyptian Temple, a three-dimensional, computer-graphic simulation of a Ptolemaic Era temple. We propose to stage an important religious event from that time, the Egyptian Oracle, virtually “in” the temple at the Earth Theater and two other large-screen theaters. An expert puppeteer will control the temple virtual High Priest and lesser constructs, a live educator, and even with the audience in the role of the Egyptian public. A live puppeteer can experiment and improvise in ways no artificial intelligence can and decades of educational research show the best way to learn about a social activity is to see it and do it.