Fairhope is a city rich with history, but even the most interesting history can get old.That is why the Fairhope Museum of History is taking old photos and making them exciting in a new way.For the …
Fairhope is a city rich with history, but even the most interesting history can get old.
That is why the Fairhope Museum of History is taking old photos and making them exciting in a new way.
For the past few years, the museum has opened a new exhibit on the second floor on the first day of the annual Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival. Museum director Gabriel Gold-Vukson said the festival weekend draws a large number of visitors to the museum. Having a new exhibit also pulls in locals. This year's exhibit is something completely new and came from a brainstorming session and a desire to create an immersive experience.
"We tried to come up with a new and inventive way the museum has not displayed history before," museum assistant Alex Box said. "We wanted to make something that was immersive and interactive so it would draw more people in from the community. How do you bring history to life? I thought 3D."
It isn't unusual to see photos and movies created using 3D technology, but seeing historic photos turned into 3D images isn't something seen often or at least not locally. Box used Photoshop and a lot of trial and error to learn the process.
After figuring out the process, Box and Gold-Vukson narrowed down the period to focus on.
"I knew I wanted to show the heyday of Fairhope, so we looked at the time period from 1900 to 1929, the golden years of Fairhope," Box said.
Time was spent going through the archives, photo albums and collections to find images that showed people enjoying Fairhope, being alive and happy and enjoying the community. Once the photos were selected, Box set to work making them 3D which took two months. In total the whole exhibit took nearly six months to complete.
The "Visions of a Fairhope" exhibit starts as soon as guests land on the top step where a box holds old-school paper 3D glasses. Once the glasses are affixed to your face and you move into the space the photos come alive. A large panoramic photo of the bay and pier greats you. The scene is full of swimmers, people walking the pier and a boat waiting to take people to Mobile at the end. It is a photo you may have seen before but in 3D you feel as if you are standing on the beach.
Another photo that stands out is of two people on horseback riding through the streets of Fairhope. The horses seem to be walking out of the photo.
This is a fun way to show the entire family what Fairhope looked like over 100 years ago. It is a new way to see history.
The museum wants to encourage visitors to share the experience with others and had 3D postcards printed for visitors to take home with their 3D glasses. The postcards are free.
"Fairhope today is much different from the Fairhope in these photos," Box said. "This is a quainter style of life they were living. If people can escape and see this version of Fairhope for a little bit, then that is what we want them to do."
"Visions of a Fairhope" opens to the public Friday, March 17, at 9 a.m. The Fairhope Museum of History is at 24 N. Section St. and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.