Virtual reality recreates the devastating Dust Bowl
This spring, the Woody Guthrie Center will open a virtual reality experience created by Tulsa based-company Steelehouse.
Deana McCloud of the Woody Guthrie Center and Mark Steele of Steelehouse stand on the center’s replica front porch, where visitors will be able to experience the Dust Bowl in virtual reality starting April 23. The experience is part of the Woody Guthrie Center’s fifth anniversary celebration. Visit woodyguthriecenter.org for a full schedule of activities and events.
This spring, visitors to the Woody Guthrie Center will have the opportunity to relive the day the Dust Bowl began in a virtual reality experience created by Tulsa based-company Steelehouse.
Firm co-founder Mark Steele says users will sit on a replica front porch and wear a VR headset. “From that moment, you are sent back in time to Black Sunday: April 14, 1935,” he says. “From the perspective of that front porch, you experience the moment the dust storm overtakes the panhandle in visceral sensory detail, as if you are there.”
The VR experience, which is part of the Woody Guthrie Center’s fifth anniversary celebration April 21-29, is narrated by Oklahoma icon Michael Wallis. It will fit in seamlessly with the permanent exhibit that shares information about the Dust Bowl and how it shaped Guthrie’s life.
“The experience of seeing those storms and the impact on those who were displaced because of the devastation was the catalyst that made Woody a spokesperson for his people,” says Deana McCloud, executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center.
Steelehouse’s creations are not limited to Tulsa. The 19-year-old company is currently in production for a “Transformers” multimedia installation that will launch in China later this year. The company also has launched multiple games and augmented reality experiences for mobile devices.
“Our team is already blowing minds with the innovative VR/AR work it is creating for our clients, so we are poised to blow the doors off as the medium grows into a phenomenon,” Steele says.
Visit woodyguthriecenter.org for a full schedule of activities and events.