StoryTrails came to Bristol this month, giving Bristolians the chance to explore untold histories of the city in a unique way. The event brought history to life in our streets and at Central Library through a range of creative augmented and virtual reality (VR) experiences.
It was a great weekend and lovely to see the Central Library so busy, triple the number of visitors joined us compared to a typical weekend, with loads of new faces joining the library and taking out books for the first time.
StoryTrails taught participants about unique historical stories through a variety of different experiences, these included:
- Using VR headsets in the Holden Foyer showing a choice of films to experience, immersing people in history from punk to South Asian cuisine
- Viewing the film created by Bristol producer and StoryMapper Marcus Smith, made from thousands of 3D scans and film interviews, uncovering local and community histories in Bristol on 5 metre curved 360o screen in the library café
- Creating avatars (a 3D version of yourself) using the free Scaniverse app and LiDar technology on iPads to create augmented reality photos, which were printed out for people to take home on a postcard.
- Setting off on guided augmented reality walking tours around Bristol, led by actors and the Bristol TrailMaker Lucy Fulford to explore the history of the SweetMart in Easton and stories from the South Asian Ugandan community in Bristol.
The walking tour is still available to download for free on the StoryTrails app and includes six stops around the centre of Bristol. Scan locations in the city with the camera on your phone or device and watch video clips and audio extracts projected onto your screen. The whole tour takes about an hour 30 minutes to complete.
I want to thank the Central Library team for making it happen and the extra members of library staff drafted in that helped with the smooth running of the event on the day. A special thanks goes to our StoryTrails library staff ambassadors – who were all brilliant and are now expert 3D scanners!
As part of the legacy of the project, StoryTrails are gifting the library VR headsets and Google handsets to run their own AR walking tours, extra iPads and mini printers for photo postcard printing, so they will be hosting more events and running more 3D scanning sessions in branch libraries across Bristol.