Virtual Reality Experience

Be transported to Guatemala with a virtual reality (VR) experience that’s part of the Empowering Women exhibition! You’ll be immersed in the vivid sights and sounds of weavers’ workshops, a fair-trade textile store, ancient Maya ruins, a kitchen where women come together to prepare meals, a bustling outdoor market, and more! 

Weaving a Better Future is the first virtual reality experience created by the Museum. This captivating, 360-degree immersive documentary places you at the centre of every scene, creating a powerful sense of immediacy and involvement. The experience is close-captioned and available in English and French.

Enriched by the brilliant colours of Maya textiles and the warmth, strength and resilience of Indigenous Maya women, Weaving a Better Future lets you explore how women are improving their lives, and those of their families, by working together in weaving cooperatives. You’ll meet women artisans who are healing from the trauma of human rights violations, preserving their culture by hand-weaving on backstrap looms, and asserting their right to earn a livelihood.

The documentary was created by Museum staff who visited the Western Highlands of Guatemala in 2016. It features a weavers’ cooperative in Quetzaltenango called TRAMA Textiles and a shop in Antigua called Textiles Colibrí. Both provide much-needed income for women artisans. 

Viewing Options Included with Admission:

  • For the best possible VR viewing experience at the Museum, visitors can use one of two Samsung Gear VR headsets while seated in swivel chairs in the Empowering Women exhibition, shown in the Expressions gallery on Level 6. Staff will be on hand to help. You can book reserved timeslots for these headsets at the Ticketing and Information Desk on the Museum’s main floor, or on Level 6. The VR experience has a total viewing time of about 12 minutes. It is recommended for ages 13 and up.
  • You can also view Weaving a Better Future on the two touchscreens in the Empowering Women exhibition, using your finger on the touchscreen to control the 360-degree video. The experience is close-captioned, available in English and French, and features ASL and LSQ.


Further Viewing Options: 

  • Insert your own smartphone into a Google Cardboard viewer, available for purchase at the Boutique on the Museum’s main floor. You will need to install the free Google Cardboard app for iOS or Android, then install the free Weaving a Better Future app for iOS or Android. Place your phone into the viewer upon launch of the app. Headphones are recommended. Google Cardboard should not be used by children without adult supervision. 
  • If you own a Samsung Gear VR headset, you can download the Weaving a Better Future app for free from the Oculus store.

Regardless of the device, your movements control what part of the 360-degree image you see. In the outdoor market scene, for example, you can gaze up to admire the towering façade of a church, look down at the cobblestoned street where someone has just dropped a watermelon rind, or look all around and behind you, taking in shoppers of all ages and colourful market wares. Local people’s voices and evocative Guatemalan music further enhance your virtual journey. Plan your visit today! 

Warning: If you experience nausea, discomfort, eye strain or disorientation while using a VR headset or viewer, stop immediately. If you are prone to seizures, consult a doctor before using a VR headset or viewer.