Imagine sitting in your living room when suddenly you find yourself in the Presidential Gallery of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, standing on the steps of the Sacred Cow, the aircraft on which President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 creating the U.S. Air Force. Glancing around you also see John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One, the same aircraft used to bring his body back to Washington D.C. in 1963. Sound impossible?
Now that the museum has launched its interactive 360° virtual tour, users can explore the museum at their leisure, help plan future visits, and share their experiences with friends and family.
“This tour provides users with an all-hours access pass to explore the museum,” said Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles Metcalf, museum director. When completed, the virtual tour will include 92 high-definition panoramic “nodes.” Each node consists of 307 photographs stitched together. In each node, aircraft and artifacts are hyperlinked to fact sheets, supplemental information and educational tools.
“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 tour, located at NationalMuseum.af.mil/VirtualTour/index.asp, 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, Research & Development and the Early Years Galleries.
Included on the tour’s main page, users have access to the lecture series and audio tour podcasts, downloadable maps of the museum, and individual panoramas of the nodes. The museum offers users various ways to obtain this information, with the podcasts available via iTunes and the panoramas built not only for computers, but also for Smartphones and iPads.
The museum also is asking those who take a virtual tour to also take a survey to help them provide the best virtual experience possible. The survey is located at SurveyMonkey.com/s/93S93FD.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force, located in Dayton, Ohio, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission and parking are free. For more information: NationalMuseum.af.mil