Project Description

In addition to VAR Lab’s ongoing “Fort LeBoeuf in VR” project, we have also partnered with a larger historical preservation effort in Erie, PA, to preserve the history associated with the Fort Presque Isle site. On the eastern edge of what is now the city of Erie, colonial French forces, then British forces, and finally American soldiers constructed three overlapping fortifications to command the southern shore of Lake Erie. In collaboration with Three Forts of Presque Isle LLC, Encore Interpretive, Fivestone Studios, as well as the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home (where the last remaining structure stands, an American blockhouse), VAR Lab continues to engage students with exciting digital history work, as we seek to use XR technology to share the story of this important site.

In collaboration with Three Forts of Presque Isle LLC, the lab will be taking on the virtual construction of the French version of this fort. Ultimately, the goal is to have this digital version of the fort accessible in augmented reality to museum visitors to be able to explore on the grounds of a future interpretive campus. This local nonprofit hopes to retrofit an East Erie Bayfront property into a large interpretive campus. The grounds of the proposed interpretive campus also happen to be where the physical forts once stood. We are part of the Master Plan documentation for the creation of the interpretive campus (see attached project PDF ). If funding for the Master Plan is ultimately secured, we anticipate opening a satellite VAR Lab location at the proposed location of the interpretive campus. The digital model of the fort we create will also be accessible in augmented reality, placed over where the old fort stood so visitors could walk through the fort in AR (similar in concept to the AR Pokemon Go smartphone app)

There are two interesting aspects to this project, (a) the creation of a digital recreation of the French version of Fort Presque Isle to preserve history and (b) the potential to build a satellite VAR Lab location for research and community outreach..