• Mg.hum. Diāna Popova Latvian Academy of Culture, Latvia



Dark heritage, immersive virtual reality, dark heritage interpretation, youth audiences, Žanis Lipke Memorial


The article will focus on the use of immersive virtual reality experiences in the interpretation of the dark heritage for young audiences. Here, through a case study of the Žanis Lipke Memorial, a new virtual reality experience was tested with young people, evaluating the benefits and shortcomings of this tool in conveying the story of the largest Jewish rescue mission at the time of the Holocaust in Latvia.

Given that every heritage institution aims to pass on the heritage to future generations, it is also essential for them to keep up with the practices of the new generation of the digital natives in their information-seeking, education and leisure-time habits, given that technology plays a pivotal role in their daily life. While virtual reality is often associated with the entertainment and gaming industries, it is also increasingly used in educational processes, in this case – as an interpretive tool in educating people about the Jewish rescue mission and Holocaust at the Memorial.

Young people in the focus groups acknowledged the emotional, embodied and implicit learning aspects of the virtual reality experience, but also pointed out some spatial and technological shortcomings of it. While some had relatively low initial expectations about the innovativeness of the Memorial, in the end, most recognised that the high-quality, realistic and historically accurate immersive virtual reality experience, combined with a physical tour at the Memorial, provided a deeper understanding of the historical event in question.


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