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National Museum of USAF goes virtual

Air Force history buffs now can walk by JFK’s Air Force One or the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force from their living rooms. Museum officials recently launched the first phase of an interactive, 360-degree virtual tour available on the museum’s website.
Users now can navigate a virtual map of a little less than half of the museum and view its exhibits through high-definition, panoramic photos.

“This tour provides users with an all-hours access pass to explore the museum,” said retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, the museum director. “It continues to expand our reach and share the Air Force story with our international audience.” When completed, the entire museum will be accessible through 92 high-definition panoramic “nodes.” Each node consists of 307 photographs stitched together. Designers plan to have aircraft and artifacts hyperlinked to factsheets, supplemental information and educational tools in each node.

“Museum exhibition design is a medium that has historically benefited from advances in technology,” said John Luchin, a museum exhibit designer. “This virtual tour is the perfect way to maintain a connection with visitors long after they have left the museum galleries.” The completed tour will be rolled out in phases over the coming months. The first phase is complete and includes interactive capabilities for the Air Park and Memorial Park, along with views of the Presidential Gallery and Research and Development Gallery.

Designers plan to have the Early Years Gallery available by the end of November. They estimated each gallery will take around two months to complete. Included on the tour’s main page, users now have access to the lecture series and audio tour podcasts, downloadable maps of the museum and individual panoramas of the nodes.

The tour is located at http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/
(Photo and text Courtesy of the of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force)


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