Imagine putting on a virtual reality headset in modern-day Washington, D.C., and being transported to communist East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. As you walk through the deserted streets you pass communist propaganda posters and miles of razor-sharp barbed wire, all while dodging the guard tower searchlights that sweep no-man’s land looking for wall jumpers. That’s the immersive trip visitors to the Newseum can now take as part of the museum’s latest VR exhibit, “Berlin Wall: The Virtual Reality Experience.”
The experience begins in West Berlin as you meet up with an English-speaking news correspondent who offers a brief introduction to the wall and its history. When you enter virtual East Berlin, you use your handheld controllers to maneuver some of those searchlights, wind your way through secret passages in abandoned buildings and locate the escape tunnel that will take you under the wall back to the relative safety of West Berlin. Once there, grab your sledgehammer. You’re among the first to put cracks in the wall, breaking down a decades-old barrier to freedom.
Eight sections of the Berlin Wall and an actual East Berlin guard tower have been on exhibit at the Newseum since it opened. The exhibit explores the history of the wall and reminds visitors of the struggles worldwide to preserve or obtain the right to free expression and religious liberty.
The seven-minute Berlin Wall VR experience is presented in partnership with HTC Vive, a first-of-its-kind VR system that offers an unparalleled sense of VR immersion.
Each month, the Newseum exhibits the best in virtual reality content in the Top 10 VR Videos of the Month kiosks.
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