A MIND-BLOWING HISTORICAL 3D VIRTUAL REALITY TOUR OF 1850s GENEVA – EXTENDED
Geneva 1850 – A Revolutionary Journey
by Chené Koscielny
A historical 3D VIRTUAL REALITY tour at the Museum Tavel will plunge you straight into the year 1850 in Geneva. By donning hand and foot sensors, a virtual reality mask and headphones you are literally immersed into this period of the city’s history – and, trust me, it feels very, very real.
It is an extraordinary experience using all your senses – complete with smells, vibrations, touch and sounds! You smell the lake and feel the wind rustling through your hair. At some point I reached out to stroke a cat and tried to hold onto railings that were not there.
Although it lasts only 15 minutes, the experience is thrilling, educational and mind-blowing at the same time. If you suffer from vertigo (a fear of heights) like me, you’ll find a few minutes quite terrifying, until you remember you are actually with both feet on the ground in a room in the basement of Maison Tavel.
This Revolutionary Journey – as it is called – has been created by the Artanim Foundation in partnership with the City of Geneva based on 3D data from the digital scan of the Relief Magnin, an exact miniature replica of the city in the 1850s, exhibited again – this time in the Museum of Art and History.
As a visitor you get to choose your avatar, dressed in period costume, and you get to discover the city and its ancient fortifications by walking through the streets, meeting the other people and travelling in a horse and carriage and (gulp!) a hot air balloon.
Four people are taken on the tour at the same time and together you experience an extraordinary adventure that takes you from the top of Mount Salève down to the banks of Lake Geneva (breathe in the fresh air), through the winding streets of the old town. In this original scenario set in 1846, visitors are given a chance to get first-hand experience of the major changes facing the city at the time, as the year marked the beginning of a political and social transformation brought on by a revolution led by James Fazy, much like the one that was simultaneously sweeping the rest of Europe.
This virtual reality experience constitutes a new milestone in the use of digital technologies as a way for cultural institutions to engage with their public. In addition to offering visitors a chance to travel in time and to dive into a famous period of Geneva’s history, the experience also paves the way to new perspectives for museums to engage with their public.
Visitors over the age of 18 are required to sign a waiver prior to being admitted.
Visitors under the age of 18 who are not accompanied by an adult on the day of their visit must download a waiver here (FR) (EN) and have it signed by their legal guardian. It will be required on the day of your visit.
Language: Although originally created in French, it has been translated into English, (we tested the English version and it was great) and it also available with subtitles in English or French.
Individual visitors can make their reservation online on:
For groups (20 to 30 people max): between 10 am and 12 pm only, Tuesday through Sunday, reservations must be made with the Public Outreach Office.
T +41 (0)22 418 25 00 (Monday through Friday, from 10 am until 12 pm) or via email at: adp- mah[at]ville-ge[dot]ch
CHF 10.- per person. Free for public school students from the Canton of Geneva (secondary cycle only).
The experience itself takes between 15 and 17 minutes. Overall, visitors should set aside 45 minutes to a full hour
Extended from 1st of August till 29 septembre 2019