Long Beach, Calif. – February 1, 2018 – For the first time in the U.S., augmented reality (AR) tours using smart glasses will make the past come alive for visitors to major historic sites, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon and James Monroe’s Highland.
ARtGlass®, pioneer of AR storytelling software and support for cultural, art and historic venues, is collaborating with Epson, a provider of the Moverio® AR smart eyewear platform, and with leaders of iconic cultural sites, to deliver the groundbreaking experiences to visitors. ARtGlass and Epson have already provided over 500,000 experiences at dozens of museums, palaces and ruins throughout Europe.
“When we first launched ARtGlass in Italy, we knew that if we could overcome the challenges of bringing wearable AR tours to the Old World, we’d be ready for the New World,” said Greg Werkheiser, ARtGlass co-founder and CEO, in Washington, D.C. “We are thrilled now to help revolutionize cultural tours at U.S. sites.”
Highland, the William & Mary-owned historic home of President James Monroe, today became the first U.S. site to launch the AR tours. Mount Vernon AR tours premiere this Spring. See a “behind-the-glasses” sample of the Highland tour here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwe1uaV9tqs
Visitors enjoying ARtGlass tours roam through augmented environments, inside and out, while 3D holograms, videos, pictures and text appear amidst real-world art, artifacts, architecture and landscapes — completely hands-free.
Since 1860, more than 85 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. Rob Shenk, Senior Vice President for Visitor Engagement, said: “The ARtGlass platform will give our guests an exciting new way to experience our historic landscape and architecture at Mount Vernon. Washington loved the latest technology, and many of our guests do as well. No doubt, through ARtGlass, we will be able to tell the Mount Vernon story in a new and compelling way.”
At James Monroe’s Highland, the historic site that made headlines last year with the discovery of a lost presidential home, Executive Director Sara Bon-Harper said she is focused on augmented reality’s ability to reach new audiences. “AR brings historical figures to life and shares the sense of discovery here at Highland in ways that are both educational and entertaining. We expect to draw more—and more diverse—visitors.”
“From the beginning, it was our intention to deliver real-world, near-term benefits to the public through the Moverio AR smart glasses,” said Anna Jen, director of augmented reality solutions, Epson. “ARtGlass software and strategies, coupled with our glasses, will enable millions of visitors to U.S. historic sites to enjoy transformative experiences.”
“U.S. museums and cultural sites attract more visits annually than pro sporting events and theme parks combined,” said ARtGlass CEO Werkheiser. “The future of history is bright.”
ARtGlass is the first company in the world to bring wearable AR to the mainstream of cultural tourism. The company’s early success is rooted in its team’s combination of leading-edge technologists, substantive specialists in art, archeology, architecture, landscapes and strategists experienced in public engagement at historical, museum and cultural sites. CEO Greg Werkheiser and COO Marion Werkheiser are also founders of Cultural Heritage Partners, the leading law, policy, and business strategy firm serving the cultural heritage sector globally. See: artglassus.com.
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Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the estate and in classrooms, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.
With its latest initiative, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, Mount Vernon is affirming its status as the preeminent center of learning about George Washington, his life, character of leadership, and legacy. In addition to safeguarding original books and manuscripts, the Library serves as a center for leadership, where scholars, influencers, and other luminaries come together to talk about the past as well as the future, inspired by Washington’s extraordinary life, achievements, and character. See: mountvernon.org
James Monroe’s Highland has been a part of William & Mary since 1974 and is currently the only U.S. president’s home owned by a university. Monroe, educated at William & Mary before enlisting in the Continental Army, shared his alma mater with George Washington, who received his surveyor’s license from the school. Highland offers tours each day, hosts community and private events, and features a robust museum shop including a Virginia Artisans Room. For hours, directions and more information, visit highland.org.
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