The Lethbridge Military Museum unveiled a new VR exhibit and model of Juno beach in honour of D-Day.
This year marks 75 years since Canadians landed on Juno Beach during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, so the Lethbridge Military Museum is stepping up its game to introduce a brand new exhibit.
It features an intricately designed and 3D-printed model of Juno Beach — tiny soldiers included — and a virtual reality experience that sends the viewer right onto the beach with narration about the war and letters from veterans.
Valour Canada commissioned the VR software as an initiative to get students fully immersed in Canada’s military history.
“We tried to replicate the environment so that when the kids take off the headset, they’ve learned what it was like, they’ve learned what the veterans experienced,” said Peter Boyle, Valour Canada’s president.
“They’re able to better understand why we go to war and why we don’t go to war. They learn about the Canadian values we stand up for.”
Though Lethbridge has been on the map for a while with VR gaming and college programs, this experience is something a little different.
“This is not a video game. The objective is not to gamify this,” Boyle said.
“The object is to teach the history. You’re listening to veterans tell their stories, you’re listening to diary entries, you’re staying on the physical beaches. It’s not violent, it’s not gory, but it’s a better look at what they experienced.”
The exhibit is on until Dec. 11, 2019.