Augmented reality app released and future exhibits disclosed
Visitors to the International UFO Museum and Research Center at 114 N. Main St. can interact with hands-on additions of touch screens and other digital media to museum exhibits.
For the past six months, Project Manager Alan Trever has been putting in hours to create a more interactive experience for museum visitors and more upgrades are planned for the future. With an eight-person team, Trever designed the exhibit on his own and worked with a company called Image Crafts from Austin, Texas, for the print, layout and installation. He said locals Jenna Secrist and Mike Lanfor from AirPlay Media and Adventure Services, LLC, helped with video layout.
“This has always been a passion project for me,” Trever said. “I’ve always loved the UFO museum in terms of the fact that it’s such a great economic boom for our city. Let’s make it so that it’s something that people want to come see and be proud of.”
The new exhibit is the first section in the museum after passing the digital maps and front desk. Now that eight interactive touch screen displays are available throughout the new display, visitors can have an audio and visual experience of material that they would have had to read in the past, Trever said.
Following this, the alleged 1947 UFO crash is displayed and divided into days beginning with July 2, 1947. Trever said this crash is the reason people come to Roswell and the goal was for the exhibit to become interactive, visual and “broken down into manageable bite-sized chunks” for people to discover the story for themselves.
After the days of July 9-10, Trever said the exhibit will include more information about the various roles of the government, military, newspapers and more. Trever said existing portions of the exhibit were rebuilt or reorganized, such as the crash diorama and KGFL radio station equipment.
Once the exhibit was reorganized, Trever discovered that the museum could expand on more of the history and involvement of Walker Air Force Base through a timeline highlighting the crash and 579 Strategic Missle Squadron, where 12 missile silos were placed around to protect Roswell from Russia in the Cold War.
Eventually, there will be an accompanying tour app for visitors to access more videos, photos and in-depth information. At this time, Trever said the wait continues for the apps’ release through iTunes and Google. He hoped it would be ready for the annual UFO Festival from July 5-7 this week, but it is anticipated to launch in a couple of weeks.
However, museum visitors can experience an augmented reality app game called Project Bluebeam XR now. Trever explained the visitors can download the app through Google Play and it will give instructions to scan alien glyphs scattered throughout the museum with their smartphones. The game allows visitors to help an alien crash survivor to return to space, as well as other missions such as destroying asteroids and abducting cows.
Jim Hill, director of the UFO museum, said the project has cost $350,000 per every 140 linear-foot. Hill said the museum is looking forward to the upcoming festival and that actions from City Manager Joe Neeb and Juanita Jennings will create a pleasant environment for the downtown area.
“We are going to continue upgrading all around the museum,” Hill said. “Our goal is to try to get everything up to more modern and interactive-type experiences for people to come through and have fun in a very safe way and environment.”
Trever disclosed that the next project is a pop culture exhibit to be finished in October that will focus on Hollywood’s take on the 1947 incident that influenced artists, writers and more in the realms of SciFi and fantasy genres.
Rodney Austin, born and raised Roswellite, said it had been a few years since he had visited the museum and if the museum continues to keep improving, locals and visitors will return to see what’s new. He described the new section as modern, multidimensional and noticed that people spent more time in that section. His daughter, Keavi Austin, 8, said she appreciated the detail in the aliens.
“It’s an upgrade for our local community, so locals can really come back in and see the new changes as well as the visitors,” Trever said. “It gives them a better experience and understanding of what’s going on.”
City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.