China Camp Village Museum by Harriot Manley

New 360-degree virtual tours of China Camp in the works

Experience 3D China Camp history anytime, anywhere

An exciting project to share China Camp’s history in a new and innovative format is in the works, with the goal of launching the project by the end of the year.

Michael Chandler of Third Eye Visuals stands next to his specialized video equipment in China Camp Cafe. Image by Harriot Manley
Michael Chandler of Third Eye Visuals stands next to his specialized video equipment in China Camp Cafe.

Working with Third Eye Visual’s Michael Chandler, Friends of China Camp volunteers are assembling a “360 virtual tour” of our Village Museum, and memorabilia-filled Village Cafe. Earlier this year, Chandler used specialized virtual-reality technology and equipment to capture the two locations. Next steps include adding detailed information and other content (think sound of lapping waves) for an engaging and enlightening virtual experience. Future versions could be adapted for specific age or ethnic groups.

The project, spearheaded by Friends of China Camp board member Ed Lai, has a dual goal: First, digitally preserve China Camp’s remarkable history. Second, offer the public an innovative, “you are there” experience, even when individuals can’t visit the park in person.

“It’s important that we don’t lose this information, and that we can share it with people in as many ways as possible,” says Lai.

Lai was intrigued by the technology, which uses a combo of still images and video, when he saw it used by the San Francisco-based Chinese Historical Society of America. CHSA’s project, which is also still in production, will allow users to take a self-guided virtual tour of the museum, zooming seamlessly from one display to the next. In practice, the experience resembles a smoother version of the technology used by Google Map’s “street view,” where you can scoot down a roadway, and, when you want, pause to look around. The results will be much the same for China Camp’s project.

The Friends of China Camp board approved the project earlier this year, agreeing the 360-degree project could be a creative new way to connect with people and share the story of China Camp. We can’t wait to unveil it.

Photo credits: harriot manley