6 Really Cool Black History Month Experiences in XR
February is officially Black History Month! Check out these 6 awesome XR experiences for your dose of cutting edge technology, powerful storytelling and unique historical insights.
Meta has announced themed stickers and AR/VR experiences to celebrate Black History Month. You can get the full scoop here. The main event is the launch of its new “Metaverse Culture Series” which can be found on Oculus TV. Each week Meta will release a new piece of content including coverage of the unsung heroes of the Black Lives Matter movement.
This includes a documentary called Traveling While Black which is a cinematic VR experience from Academy Award-winner Roger Ross Williams that demonstrates traveling limitations for Black Americans and the generation of safe spaces in our community. Cost: Free on Oculus TV
Facebook also has a hub called “Lift Black Voices” on Facebook where there is exclusive user generated content like Black is the Black by the Global Editor-in-Chief Simone Oliver and writer Law Roach.
This augmented reality experience is aimed at museums and educators. It comes as a bundle with physical posters and access to the app. Once scanned, each poster comes to life with a history lesson.
This experience covers historical figures of the civil rights movement like Dred Scott, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Madam CJ Walker, Jesse Owens, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King JR and Ruby Bridges. Some specific history events covered include The Montgomery Bus Boycott, The Voting Rights Movement, Significant Speeches of the Civil Rights Era and more.
You can preview the experience here:
While it is not free like some of the experiences, it’s on sale now for $295 (from $595). It’s accessible directly through Victory XR here and requires the bundle purchase in order to download the app and use the posters.
This incredible 400,000 square foot exhibit is masterfully put together by the renowned Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.. The physical museum features 3 main sections and is open to the public! Get more details here.
The virtual movie theater company has added 14 titles to its “Black Cinema” category and are available on demand. These titles include St. Louis Superman, I Am Not Your Negro, Night Catches Us, Southside With You, Silverrain, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, Broken Ceiling, The Long Walk Home, Mandela, Sincerely, Brenda, For Ahkeem, Muhammad Ali Life of a Legend, Cover, Jackie Brown. For trailers and a detailed synopsis of each film, check it out here.
Credit: Bigscreen Media
Bigscreen supports all major VR headsets, including Oculus Quest 2, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, Valve Index, Windows Mixed Reality, and more! You can download Bigscreen Beta for free from the Oculus Store (PC, Quest) or Steam.
This highly interactive augmented reality app starts with a list of history lessons about Black Americans. Choose one to go into a lesson then answer a few short questions in a quiz. Once you get it right, you’ll be given AR badges and can build your platform. This has been around since 2020 but it still holds up. Get the full scoop here.
Cost: Free and you can download it here or scan the QR code above.
This event is not entirely 3rd-dimension XR but it was cool enough to make the list and totally worth sharing! The Stax Museum is offering 2 virtual productions of celebrations of Black American music and its impact on American culture. Watch these exciting productions and learn about the deep roots of soul music from Memphis, Tennessee.
The first production is called The Magnetic South. This story shares how a tiny record company that started in a garage ended up becoming one of the most successful record companies of the mid to later century when soul music was at its peak. The film covers 4 pioneers specifically: Al Bell, Bettye Crutcher, Al Jackson, Jr. ad Mavis Staples. This exciting film is narrated by Memphis musicians Keia Johnson, Tonya Dyson, Terence Clark and Kenon Walker.
The museum offers educational materials to support adding this to a curriculum!
You can preview the film here!
Credit: Stax Museum
Cost: Free! Register here.
The second production is Soul of America: The Evolution of Black Music. This production is a series of videos performing Black American music from the early sounds until current day, referencing great artists like B.B. King, the Pointer Sisters, Ike & Tina Turner, Rufus Thomas and Duke Ellington. It doesn’t stop there though– it also covers today’s pop stars like Beyonce and Janelle Monae.
Credit: Stax Museum
This production is classroom friendly too and has a companion study guide if you really wanted to make the impact last! Cost: Free! Register here. It is accessible through desktop or mobile.
If there are any other XR experiences you’d like us to include, let us know at Bebe@echo3d.co!
echo3D (www.echo3D.co; Techstars 19’) is a cloud platform for 3D/AR/VR that provides tools and network infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy 3D apps, games, and content.