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Products for grant MD-268918-20

Exploring the Roots of Freedom: Augmented Reality Tour for Mitchelville South Carolina Gullah-Geechee Heritage Site
Christopher Maraffi, Florida Atlantic University

Grant details:

Making Invisible Stories Visible: Mitchelville AR Tour Project (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Making Invisible Stories Visible: Mitchelville AR Tour Project
Author: Christopher Maraffi
Abstract: Emerging media technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and interactive 360 video are providing new mediums for visual storytelling and experiential learning at historical and heritage sites. We are conducting research on using augmented reality for an educational tour of historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, the site of the first Freedmen's town during the Civil War and Gullah heritage site on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Augmented reality applications enable us to integrate 3D virtual structures and animated historical figures like Harriet Tubman and Robert Smalls into the camera feed of mobile phones and headsets, so that visitors can experience life-sized interactive scenes throughout the park. Maraffi's presentation shows pre-production designs, models, and augmented reality prototypes which are in development for Mitcheville AR Tour: Stories of Emancipation & Freedom. FAU faculty and students are using the latest technology in virtual cinematic production and games AI to develop life-sized tour guides that will feature Gullah storytelling and dance, as well as put Mitchelville within the context of the Port Royal Experiment and the larger humanities themes of Reconstruction and Civil Rights. By collaborating with preservationists, humanities scholars, computer scientists, and Gullah performing artists from many institutions, including the Mitchelville Preservation Project, Penn Center, Reconstruction Beaufort, USCB, NCSU, CCU, and the Gullah community, faculty and graduate students in FAU's Media, Technology, and Entertainment MFA program are researching new ways to make the history and culture surrounding Mitchelvlle come alive. This project is being funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Projects for the Public "Discovery" grant, and an FAU Walter and Lalita Janke Emerging Technologies Fund seed grant.
Date: 03/06/2020
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: IGGAD Conference Schedule
Conference Name: International Gullah Geechee and African Diaspora (IGGAD) Conference

Using XR Technology to Enhance Museum Exhibits and Historical Sites (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Using XR Technology to Enhance Museum Exhibits and Historical Sites
Author: Christopher Maraffi
Abstract: This paper will report on extended reality (XR) research projects our media lab is doing to enhance informational posters, 3D exhibits, and tours at museums and historical sites. XR refers to media that is delivered through a game engine interface to mobile devices or headsets, including 360 video, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) or spatial computing experiences. We are collaborating with a science museum in Florida and a historical site in South Carolina to design interactive educational experiences that will better engage visitors for learning science and humanities topics. Projects include enhancing informational posters with documentary video and 3D animated renders, creating AR content that integrates with existing 3D site exhibits, and developing interactive docents and tour guides. We are taking a STEAM (STEM+Art) approach that draws from docudrama and edutainment media, using intermedial techniques from cinema, animation, and games. Technology includes performance capture for virtual production, 360 video, and photogrammetry to visualize believable 3D scenes in a real space. In another project, we are collaborating with the Mitchelville Preservation Project in coastal Beaufort County, South Carolina, to create a tour of the Reconstruction-era historical and Gullah-Geechee heritage site. Mitchelville was the first Freedmen’s town of formerly enslaved Africans, today known as Gullah-Geechee, during the US Civil War. We are creating an AR app for mobile phones that will tell histories related to Mitchelville and nearby sites. In the fall we did virtual pre-production for Harriet Tubman’s Combahee River Raids, visualizing story elements using performance capture in the Unreal game engine, and will be developing a prototype for mobile devices and headsets in spring semester.
Date: 11/18/2020
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Electronic Visualization and the Arts (EVA) conference schedule.
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Youtube recording of the EVA 2020 conference presentation.
Conference Name: Electronic Visualization and the Arts (EVA) 2020 London Conference