Technology with a Purpose: NatGeo Virtual Reality Theater

The Auditorium at the National Geographic Center in Washington DC.  Virtual reality takes center stage here.

By Marley Henderson

National Geographic is still impressing the world even after 130 years in business.

Now the National Geographic Museum is opening in Washington, DC’s, the city’s first virtual reality theater experience.  The National Geographic society has recently emphasized investment in virtual reality and other cutting-edge technologies in order to build on its established legacy of using photography to transport people around the world.

A Substantial Impact

National Geographic Explorers has done important work to make a substantial impact on our planet to create balance. It has always been imperative that they share these stories in order to make a genuine impact on their audience.

Paired with live talks, the museum aims to connect audiences with Explorers and photographers who are looking to share a deeper story.

Virtual reality has proven to be a forcefully immersive medium with the capacity to take its viewer anywhere and at any time solely through the use of a VR headset.  SPACES has specifically armed National Geographic with the means to provide an engaging experience like no other.

The application of the technology for the shared theater experience was designed by SPACES, an industry leader in delivering virtual reality experiences with retail locations, parks and other attractions around the globe. SPACES has equipped Grosvenor Auditorium with 450 Oculus-Go headsets, a dedicated server with proprietary coding, and a remote triggering system that will allow for an entirely exclusive experience.

Joining the Explorers

“Now, with a fully equipped VR theater, audiences can virtually travel beyond the limits of Washington, D.C., and join these exceptional Explorers in the field.” – Kathryn Keane, vice president of public programming and director of the National Geographic Museum

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Many photographers are now shooting their subjects in 360 degrees, allowing them to capture the story from all angles and point of view. This ground-breaking technology coupled with National Geographic’s premier visual storytelling creates a genuine connection that can influence viewers to conserve and preserve the earth’s most remarkable locations.

An event itself will consist of an entirely unique combination of a live speaker presentations and breathtaking photography as well as a guided VR exploration where guests will go beyond the photographs on the screen and journey through the world’s most awe-inspiring locations.

The new theater will officially make its debut this fall with two spectacular events. During the first event, photographer Aaron Huey will guide guests among the incredible Bears Ears National Monument, land which has long been held sacred to the indigenous peoples of the region.

Second, in the museum’s fall event lineup, guests will embark on an expedition to the frozen landscapes of Antarctica with photographer Paul Nicklen during which they’ll experience a dramatic encounter with a leopard seal.

Inspirational Content

“National Geographic creates some of the most iconic, inspirational content in the world […] Giving audiences a deeper experience in VR is just the beginning.” – Anthony Jacobson, COO of SPACES

National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of visual storytelling, and the new theater continues this tradition of going further to connect audiences with Explorers.

When embarking on one of these unique exploration experiences in Grosvenor Auditorium, guests can personally experience the stories influencing them to care about the fascinating places of our planet. Technology has transformed our ability to comprehend, connect and collaborate; It’s time to bring purpose to the promise of technology.

Open daily: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM