Virtual-Reality Journey with Alice Down the Rabbit Hole
Since Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland debuted in 1865, the fantastical tale of a girl who falls down a rabbit hole and ends up in an alternative universe has inspired countless retellings. From rabbit holes to mirrors, flamingoes to hedgehogs, Wonderland is the perfect world for virtual reality. A new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser,” will chart a century and a half of the story’s cultural impact when it opens in March 2021. Thanks to a virtual reality (VR) exhibition launched by the museum and tech company HTC Vive Arts, audiences can enjoy a sneak preview from the comfort of their own homes. Dubbed “Curious Alice,” a free, 45-minute VR experience, took place on October 22. During the preview, participants wandered through a virtual environment inspired by the museum’s ornate nineteenth-century building. A personal companion—a white rabbit similar to the one Alice encounters in her fictional journey—accompanied visitors as they encountered visual effects, including a “pool of tears” and a “hallway of doors.” The full “Curious Alice “ experience is available for purchase ($4.99 USD) from Vive Arts. At the physical exhibition in March, attendees will also have the chance to don headsets and explore an extended VR game based on Alice’s famous topsy-turvy croquet match against the Queen of Hearts.
Now with Apple ARKit, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar can be brought to life in the real world. Through an augmented reality experience, children can watch their own Very Hungry Caterpillar appear in their classroom, on a kitchen table, in a garden, on their playground, or anywhere else they want to play with it.
Fans of Jane Austen can visit her House from the comfort of their home, or wherever they are. They can stroll through the House, now a Museum, on a 360-degreevirtual tour, wander through the gardens with the Museum cat, or take in an online exhibition.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum provides unique fieldtrip opportunities for teachers and students to engage with the museum’s content online. Among the museum’s offerings are “Earth and Its Place in the Universe” (grades 5–12); “Finding Our Way: Geography and GIS” (grades 6–8)); “Living Through History” (grades 1–8); and “Paper Airplane Design” (grades 3–8).