Young patients at King’s College Hospital, London, were the first to experience a virtual reality Dulwich Picture Gallery today via a new Google Cardboard tour which allows smartphone users all over the world to immerse themselves in Sir John Soane’s magnificent spaces. Dulwich is the first arts institution in the UK to partner with the Google Cultural Institute to provide a Cardboard experience ideal for those who cannot access the Gallery.
Children at the King’s Hospital Schoolroom and on the Rays of Sunshine ward tried out the virtual reality tour as part of an outreach session designed by the Gallery’s Learning team and with help from the school teacher, Sue Clarke. Mirroring a typical visit to the Gallery, the tour begins outside the main entrance after which users can enter to explore the striking enfilade and adjoining rooms as well as the dramatic surroundings of the Gallery’s mausoleum where its founders are buried. Additional information on key paintings is also included and accompanying audio highlights interesting facts from the Gallery’s rich 200-year history.
The tour was developed using Street View technology. From today anyone with a Google Cardboard and Android phone can experience the tour by downloading the Gallery’s new app Dulwich Picture Gallery on the Google Play Store.
Roger Walshe, Director of Public Engagement, Dulwich Picture Gallery, said:
“Our gallery first opened its doors to the public almost 200 years ago as the UK’s first purpose-built space for art. We’re delighted to again be leading the way by re-opening our gallery to a whole new world of virtual visitors. And like them, we are just beginning to discover the potential of immersive technology to provide startling aesthetic experiences and inspirational learning environments. Over the coming months we will be trialling and enhancing this technology with schools, young people and the public. In doing so, we hope to demonstrate how fusing art and technology can generate new creative possibilities.”