In a historic first, museum-goers will be able to travel back in time to the 1963 March on Washington and see Dr. Martin Luther King give his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech in what’s described as the most life-like and realistic human performance in virtual reality ever.
TIME Studios’ groundbreaking, immersive experience, “The March,” bringing Dr. King to virtual reality for the first time, gets its national debut this Friday at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History.
Its preview Wednesday night drew local and national personalities to the South Side museum, including the children of the revered civil rights leader, Bernice and Martin Luther King III.
“It’s my hope that as people experience this virtual reality segment of my father’s ‘I Have A Dream,’ some will be inspired to go and listen to the entire speech, because he essentially laid out some fundamental truths of the time that still stand,” said Bernice King.
“We still have that bounced check from America he spoke of. But one of the things I embrace is when he talks about, ‘We must forever conduct ourselves on the high plane of dignity and decency.’ He speaks to the circumstances and conditions of the Black community, but he doesn’t leave you there. He speaks to the hope and the vision, rallying us around that vision so that we as a people can continue to move forward.”
The project, utilizing the most advanced virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), film production processes and machine-learning techniques to date available, represents the very first time the King estate has granted rights for the civil rights leader to be re-created in VR.
“The first exhibition of ‘The March’ at the DuSable Museum will allow visitors of all ages to powerfully witness and participate in history firsthand, like never before,” said TIME Editorial Director of Immersive Experiences Mia Tramz. “‘The March’ provides an educational and historically accurate experience through the use of the most ambitious and complex VR techniques to date, while also introducing the next generation of creators to immersive technology.”
Exhibit-goers then enter another dark room to don virtual reality glasses and be transported. Right there before you are the thousands gathered on the National Mall on that afternoon of Aug. 28, 1963, listening to King, who suddenly comes into view.
King is as real as if he were standing next to you. And no matter how many times you’ve heard the iconic speech, Davis is right — this experience will make you feel as if you are hearing it the first time.