To truly understand the steelpan and its distinctive sound one must understand the struggle of a people, their creative defiance in the face of opposing authority and their resilience to define their own identity over oppression. The history and cultural heritage of the steelpan movement is a paragon of the human spirit and it`s story should be preserved and shared with the entire world.
No dedicated gallery space exists that showcases the story of the steelpan and the movement that gave birth to it. One of the fundamental roles of a museum is to educate, and to impart cultural learning by curating and showcasing the materials, objects and artifacts of its collections. A steelpan museum can enrich the educational process by exposing younger generations and the wider public to history in a positive way.
We have an opportunity to introduce the rich cultural heritage of Trinidad and Tobago to the world in a very unique, immersive and intimate way. The virtual steelpan museum (VSM) uses cutting edge virtual reality technology to showcase Trinidad and Tobago culture in a way that can excite younger generations. It will serve to enable our future generations to understand and appreciate their history and take pride in the achievements of their forebearers.
One consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a dramatic uptick in the use of digital technologies that support social distancing and help limit face to face interactions. This digital transformation set in place does not go back to pre-pandemic conditions when the crisis ceases but advances us forward with new innovations and technologies. The pandemic ushered in the age of the virtual and immersive technologies like virtual reality are at the leading edge setting the stage for new opportunities.
The VSM is an innovative new museum concept that combines the newest VR technology with the heritage and culture of the steelpan musical instrument. The VSM celebrates and exquisitely exhibits the story of invention and the human spirit of the steelpan movement. It is a unique immersive experience solely dedicated to the preservation, exhibition and advancement of steelpan music, culture and heritage.
The museum exists entirely in the virtual realm, using a VR headset users are transported to a virtual gallery, where they can browse artifacts, sculptures, paintings, sound libraries and videos to learn about the history of the steelpan. Users can interact with objects to get a closer look or bring them to life. Many of the objects link to audio files, sounds, narration, 3D objects and additional text which make engagement and discovery more exciting.