Matterport Inc.

10/26/2021 | News release | Archived content

Virtually explore a historically significant stop on the Underground Railroad

Museums globally have been impacted by Covid-19 and its resulting policies that limit or ban visitors from accessing historic exhibits. One such museum is the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum in Ontario, which collects, preserves and exhibits important artifacts of the Elgin (Buxton) Settlement, a stop on the Underground Railroad.

With the help of Adam Harris, owner of Owl 360 VR Tour Solutions, this historic site and museum can be toured virtually - enabling teachers and students across the country to experience a pivotal and significant part of African history.

What inspired the 3D capture of this space?

The Buxton National Historic Site and Museum commemorates the Elgin Settlement, a refuge for fugitive black slaves escaping into Canada through the Underground Railroad. Located in North Buxton, Ontario Canada, this important site typically welcomes thousands of visitors and school field trips from all over North America but unfortunately faces many obstacles and restrictions due to the global pandemic. By creating an informative and interactive digital twin of The Buxton Museum, visitors from all over the world can access these important pieces of history even if they can't visit the museum in person.

What are the "must-sees" you want visitors to explore and why?

This important historic site is a must-see in its entirety. Enslaved Africans were forcefully transported to North America via the Atlantic slave trade. The inhumane conditions on these ships along with the perils of their journey claimed the lives of 2.4 million Africans. Our museum shares this history with the world.

One of the most impactful items can be found at the beginning of the tour: an accurate recreation of the brutally compact sleeping quarters that slaves were forced to remain in during the long voyage. This re-creation further illustrates the pain and suffering experienced by all victims of the Atlantic slave trade.

Viewing the Matterport 3D tour or visiting the museum in person is an emotional journey but I believe it's a necessary one. By building a tangible connection to the history of the Underground Railroad, we can better understand the lasting effects of all forms of racism in both the past and present day.

With pandemic-related restrictions on school field trips, teachers can use this tour as a virtual field trip for the entire class to learn from. I believe this tour is best used as a starting point to inspire lifelong learning and understanding.

Do you have any plans to capture more 3D experiences?

In addition to serving our traditional real estate and engineering clients, we are always looking for interesting and meaningful experiences that can be captured and shared with the world.

I would like to add that The Buxton Historical Society relies heavily on donations and grants to preserve and improve the museum grounds and facilities. Without the generosity of supporters, the museum board would be hard-pressed to maintain the high quality and innovative programs, which truly are a legacy of North Buxton. I encourage everyone who views this 3D tour to support their organization by visiting our support page here.