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SEP 14, 2017

Virtual Reality Propels Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust into the Future

 

Holocaust survivor Betty Cohen in front of green screen

 

Beverly Hills Courier

As executive director of Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, one of the biggest challenges Beth Kean wrestles with is how to keep the stories of Holocaust survivors alive digitally for decades to come.

“We are always thinking about what we look like in a post-survivor world and how we can stay current to engage new, younger audiences, while preserving the legacies of the survivors,” Kean told Beverly Hills Style.

The museum, which focuses on the history of the Holocaust and engages students and visitors with survivors, is embarking on utilizing the latest technology to bring survivor stories to life. Through the Virtual Realty Project, viewers are placed in the environments in which the survivors’ stories take place.

Kean said the idea came one day months ago during a museum board meeting, when one of the board members brought up the idea of using virtual reality in the museum.

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is currently working with 8i Studios in Culver City, which is donating its services and space to bring survivors into their studio and record them sharing their stories.

The survivors are recorded by about 41 cameras in front of a green screen. Those recordings are developed into a hologram which is then superimposed into various digital scenes that will give visitors to the museum – who will be wearing a VR headset – a front-row seat into what the Holocaust survivors endured.

“We’re creating these vignettes with these amazing stories of survival and making sure they stay alive for generations to come,” Kean said.

Kean said the rollout for the VR Project is still months in the future and the museum is only in the beginning stages of figuring out how it will be implemented. The recording of survivors’ stories is ongoing and the museum is hoping to raise funds to do more recording in the next several months.

The first glimpse of VR stories will be unveiled at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust’s Annual Gala Dinner on Sunday, Nov. 5 at The Beverly Wilshire. The event, emceed by Melissa Rivers, will honor CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, son of survivors, and will provide a special preview of the Virtual Reality Project.

Also participating in the program will be author and human rights activist Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse, both daughters of survivors.

For more on the Nov. 5 gala, visit http://www.lamoth.org/news--events/events/november-5-annual-gala-dinner/.

Click here to read the story in the Beverly Hills Courier.