A new virtual exhibit for Elk Falls Provincial Park will provide visitors with a deeper interpretation of the area, and expand the walls of the Museum of Campbell River to new visitor markets. File photo

Elk Falls experience to get a virtual facelift

New virtual exhibit expected to be complete by end of 2020

A new virtual exhibit for Elk Falls Provincial Park will provide visitors with a deeper interpretation of the area, and expand the walls of the Museum of Campbell River to new visitor markets.

Led by the Museum at Campbell River, the Elk Falls Alive app will bring the local landscape to life through dozens of mini documentaries and nature videos.

As local knowledge holders and historians pass away, narrative content will tell the region’s story, and reconnect people to the natural environment and thousands of years of Indigenous history.

“We have a deep history in the area and our Elders have many stories to tell,” said Wei Wai Kum Nation’s Chief Councillor Chris Roberts.

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“This unique software promises to engage people in a way that is modern and appealing to all generations. We are confident that it will increase knowledge of our history and rights in the region while enhancing the visitor experience.”

The app will also include a tourism map as well as a wildlife and flora identifier for visitors to experience the park in a new and engaging way.

Available for download at the park entrance, the museum or from home, visitors will be able to access content as they walk the park or remotely from any location.

The platform will be compatible across mobile devices, computers and touchscreens, supporting a range of applications from private classroom settings to onsite public touchscreens. Individuals with impairments, limited from experiencing the park previously, will benefit from enhanced accessibility.

“Museums have stayed static while the world is changing,” said Sandra Parrish, executive director of the Museum at Campbell River. “We need to reinvent how we do business, and this project will connect visitors to the region’s history, stories, and Indigenous culture not included in our permanent displays.“

The app is based on the Naturalive digital interpretation platform, being developed by a local tech company. The platform has the potential to connect a network of natural destinations and trails on Vancouver Island and elsewhere, that could be continuously expanded and scaled over time.

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Development of the app, in partnership with a nationally recognized museum and local technology company, will also play a role in enhancing the region’s emerging technology sector.

“It’s a clear demonstration of how tourism can champion innovation and technology,” said ICET Board Chair Josie Osborne.

“Modern visitor services provide a deeper level of engagement, and virtual exhibits are a way to reach new audiences and younger demographics.”

The project is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2020.