We’re pleased to announce that our augmented reality experience ‘Pilgrimage to Looe Island’ has finally launched!
This is an experience which is based on the fascinating history of Looe Island, also called St George's Island, its original Cornish name is ‘Enys Lann-Managh’ meaning ‘island of the monk's enclosure’. This is because in circa 1144 a Benedictine monastery was built on the island, which would later become a popular site of pilgrimage due to the rumour that Jesus Christ himself visited the island as a child with his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea. Supposedly they were visiting to trade Cornish tin. While this may sound pretty far-fetched, surprisingly there is strong evidence of trade in tin between Cornwall and the middle east in the 5th century. However, the monastery’s power declined after Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536.
Which brings us to the present day! Today however all that remains of a once prominent monastery is a few ruins on the island. This is where Coastal Timetripping comes in to give visitors a chance to experience this long-lost past of the island. A 3D replica of Looe Island has been created which visitors will hover iPads over, provided by the museum, to activate different parts of a story told through augmented reality. You will follow the journey of a young pilgrim exploring the island and monastery, while trying to find ingredients to create medicine for a sickly monk. Augmented Reality is used to re-create the monastery, its gardens, and various imagined characters of the past before you. Through this experience you can select story segments, characters you want to talk to, and immerse yourself in the life and journey that these intrepid men took on the island itself at the time. (All iPads are sanitised between users to prevent the spread of Covid-19!)
Additionally, there is also an immersive ‘Times and Tide’ cabinet, that explores an important but hidden part of Looe’s history- smuggling. In the mid 1500’s, after the monastery had fallen and the Island had long since ceased to be a site of pilgrimage, it became the site of the much less reputable practice of smuggling. It was an ideal location for smugglers to avoid the customs men of Falmouth and Plymouth, as well as stash their goods until they could be shipped to the mainland at a safer time. Various famous smugglers would use Looe Island, such as the brother and sister duo Finn and Black Joan, Amram Hooper, and Thomas Fletcher (a former coastguard who used his inside knowledge to evade customs men). Some considered smugglers to be heroes, fighting unfair taxation laws to support their families. Others saw them as common thieves, who often resorted to violence to keep their secrets. This exhibit immerses visitors in the arguments of these deeply opposed sides.
To try these experiences for yourself just pop into Looe museum! (We don’t have a ticketing system or anything like that). These experiences were developed as a part of ‘Coastal Timetripping’, a project that uses modern technology to bring Cornish history to life across five different locations: Bude, Looe, St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly and Porthcurno. You can find out more about Coastal Timetripping, and the experiences at the 4 other destinations, here www.coastaltimetripping.com