The Shaw & 54th Regiment Memorial is now a living digital monument.

Located on the Boston Common, at the base of the Massachusetts State House steps, The Shaw & 54th Regiment Memorial is considered as one of America’s greatest public work of art. In recognition of its extraordinary historical, artistic, social and political value, a new Augmented Reality experience now brings the monument and its story to life.

Shaw 54 Memorial

This photo-realistic, three-dimensional, life-size recreation of Augustus Saint-Gaudens masterpiece, can be accessed anywhere on a phone or tablet, using the Hoverlay browser and tuning into the +ShawAndThe54th channel.

In addition to exploring the digital replica of the monument, users can go through four holographic stories, presented by a human narrator, and completed by relevant historical photographs. Presented by Historian Emmett Bell-Sykes, CEO and Author Carol Fulp, and Distinguished Professor Ted Landsmark, those stories present the 54th Regiment, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the dedication, and the monument’s social and political role.

Shaw 54 Memorial

These holographic stories are geo-located on the site of the monument and can be explored either at the site of the monument, or anywhere alongside the digital replica of the monument.

These were the steps to creating content for the experience.

• A photogrammetry model of the monument, with an audio soundtrack. Produced by AR artist John Craig Freeman, this model contains more than 800,000 polygons computed from multiple high-res photographs to create the structure of the 3d model. It is then combined with a photo-realistic texture to best match the sculpture stones, bricks and bronze material.

• Scripts and historical research provided by the National Park Service and the Friends of the Public Garden.

• 4 holograms recorded using a green screen, and automatically transformed into AR content.

• More than 50 historical photos, sketches, articles, postcards and posters, in support of each story, provided by the Friends of the Public Garden, and transformed into floating frames, fading in and out based on the narrative.

Shaw 54 Memorial

This augmented reality project is sponsored by the Friends of The Public Gardens, and produced in partnership with the National Park Service, the City of Boston, the Museum of African American History, and AR artist and Emerson College Professor John Craig Freeman.

Boston Common is America’s oldest park is and a place of extraordinary history. This first AR experience is establishing a new standard in how those stories can come to life through immersive storytelling, and ensure that historical monuments can be enjoyed, valued and protected for generations to come.

Follow Hoverlay on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.