Immersive exhibition ‘transports’ visitors to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the world’s most sacred, ancient monuments
On Nov. 15, 2017, the National Geographic Museum opened a groundbreaking, immersive 3-D exhibition, “Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience.” The exhibition combines National Geographic’s rich storytelling and archaeological expertise with innovative technology to bring this world heritage site to life.
In 2016, National Geographic had the exclusive opportunity to document the historic renovation of the tomb of Christ, located in the center of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. National Geographic Explorer Corey Jaskolski was part of the team on the ground that created a 3-D record of the site using LIDAR scans, high-resolution photos and video.
Now, this groundbreaking visualization data has been animated into an immersive projection experience designed by Orlando-based Falcon’s Creative Group, Artistic Entertainment Service and Electrosonic. Thanks to Jaskolski’s imagery, combined with a pair of 3-D glasses, museum visitors will leave Washington, D.C., and be transported to Jerusalem, where they can virtually walk inside the rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Tomb of Christ and view newly revealed cave walls that haven’t been seen in centuries.
The exhibition also includes an interactive feature that allows visitors to test the ground-penetrating radar and see the laser scanners used to record and preserve this important archaeological site. Through this cutting-edge experience, visitors can learn how these types of technology could be used to preserve the world’s treasured cultural sites and artifacts of human history before they succumb to time or disaster.
Exhibition to run November 15, 2017 – August 15, 2018
“For nearly 130 years, National Geographic has brought people to the world beyond their doorsteps. With this exhibition, we’ve assumed the audacious task of pushing the boundaries of exploration even further by taking visitors back in time. Through the use of real scientific data and visualizations, museum visitors have the opportunity to virtually step foot inside this iconic place to experience science and history in a particularly innovative way.” -Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society
In “Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience,” visitors can learn about the restoration conducted by a team from the National Technical University of Athens – one of the foremost institutes of research in Greece. National Geographic Archaeologist-in-Residence Fredrik Hiebert and National Geographic staff writer Kristin Romey joined the team to experience the preservation of the tomb. The renovation revealed that bedrock from the part of the original cave still exists within the walls of this renowned shrine.
“To be part of this once-in-a-lifetime team, that revealed and conserved the holiest shrine in Christianity, was a life-changing experience, both as a scientist and as a human being. I’m thrilled that through this new exhibition, visitors will be able to virtually experience what it was like to explore this iconic place.” -Fredrik Hiebert, Archaeologist-in-Residence, National Geographic Society
The historic renovation project will be featured in National Geographic magazine’s cover story in the December 2017 issue. Additionally, it will be part of an upcoming episode of Explorer, airing in the United States on December 3 on National Geographic, and in 171 countries and 45 languages throughout December.
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