Alien-like creatures come to life at Victoria Gallery & Museum through augmented reality

A collection of ‘wet specimens’ have come to life at VG&M Liverpool, fuelling our fascination with all things creepy.

We’ve all seen ‘wet specimens’ in science fiction films and cartoons. You know, those weird alien-looking creatures floating around in big jars? Well, now these creepy yet fascinating zoology exhibits are coming to life thanks to augmented reality at Victoria Gallery & Museum.

‘Nightmares in a Bell Jar’ is an exhibition by curator Leonie Sedman which features creatures such as frightening fish and repulsive reptiles, preserved in glass jars. The Visitor Service Team at the Ashton Street gallery noticed that visitors, kids in particular, asked lots of questions about what the specimens were, are they dead, do they move? And so the gallery team set to work on bringing them back to life with all the answers.

VGM duty manager, Kim Fisher said:” We wanted to educate both our younger and older visitors alike, but to do it in a fun, unique and engaging way. We had the opportunity to test an augmented reality app as part of the BBC Civilisations Festival and being able to interact with an object on a mobile device encouraged us to look closer, stay longer and find out more while having fun.”

University of Liverpool’s Mobile Development worked on the project for three months. From creating original works of art for each exhibit to researching interesting facts and of course, mastering new skills in augmented reality to make these weird and wonderful creatures come to life.

When you visit the VG&M head to the Tate Hall Museum, download the Nightmare in a Bell Jar App and scan each of the exhibit label to see the creatures float in technicolour, outside their jars, in front of your eyes. With their original colours restored, this is an unmissable opportunity to get a unique selfie with a creature from the deep!

You can now download the Nightmare in a Bell Jar App on Apple and Android from the University of Liverpool App Store here. Did you know you can also borrow at tablet from the VG&M Visitor Services Team too.


To find out more about what’s on, including free family activities at Victoria Gallery and Museum, head to www.vgm.liverpool.ac.uk or follow @victoriagallery on Instagram for updates. 

All images courtesy of University of Liverpool and Victoria Gallery & Museum. 

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