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Small town museum goes high tech with addition of virtual reality exhibit

Christian Booher
A sign advertising the Flat River Historical Museum's new "Ghosts of Greenville's Past" virtual reality exhibit rests outside the replica Silver Theater inside the museum.

After a trip to the Cranbrook Institute, Keith Hudson was sold.

The Cranbrook Institute features an illusion technology exhibit, ‘Pepper’s Ghost,’ to wow visitors. When Hudson watched it, he wanted a similar show for the Flat River Historical Museum in Greenville.

“That was the idea,” Hudson said. “We need a wow exhibit like that.”

With the help of other volunteers at the museum and the same experts who created ‘Pepper’s Ghost,’ Hudson was able to create ‘Ghosts of Greenville’s Past.’ This show is made up of five separate individual holograms that are projected on screen inside the museum’s replica Silver Theater exhibit, a tribute to an attraction of the same name that stood for decades.

The holograms themselves are of re-enactors portraying characters significant in the history of Greenville. One is of John Green, who is credited as the founder of Greenville. Others include Green’s wife, Deborah, and Danish explorer August Rasmussen.

Each monologue lasts nearly four minutes. Hudson said museum visitors can be treated to a showing of each as they walk in the door.

“We try to encourage everybody to see it,” Hudson said. “Because it points out things in the museum.”

So far, Hudson said the exhibit has drawn rave reviews.

“Most people have been blown away,” Hudson said. “They thought it was really special.”

The Flat River Historical Museum is open 2-4:30 p.m. on weekends and from 6-7 p.m. Thursday nights during Rotary Concerts at Franklin Street Park during the summer.