People visiting the National Memorial Arboretum will be able to learn more about the site with a new augmented reality experience.

The ARboretum app

The site at Alrewas allows users on Android and Apple devices to download an app which will introduce them to a range of colourful characters to explain more about different memorials.

The characters Blu, Kit and Sam will bring the stories of various organisations to life in the ARboretum experience, which will run until June for pre-booked visitors.

The initiative is part of a new programme of activities under the Our Everyday Heroes programme which aims to showcase the contribution of emergency services to national life.

Chris Ansell, head of participation and learning at the National Memorial Arboretum, said:

“Our new free family activity uses augmented reality technology to provide a fun, interactive experience that helps them engage with incredible stories of service and sacrifice.

“Our everday heroes in the NHS, emergency services, Armed Forces and countless other organisations have been essential to the UK’s pandemic response, with many individuals putting their lives at risk in the service of others.”

Chris Ansell, National Memorial Arboretum

The augmented reality app has been developed by Stafford-based Fennec Labs.

Ben Woodford, co-founder and lead developer at Fennec Labs, said:

A visitor using the app at the National Memorial Arboretum

“Augmented reality opens up so many possibilities for heritage sites – it’s a fantastic way to engage a younger audience without having to make modifications to physical spaces.

“We’re thrilled that the arboretum chose a local studio such as ourselves, who understand the significance of the arboretum and the role it plays.”

Ben Woodford, Fennec Labs

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  1. Visited the NMA today, and I was sad to see how it has now become a picnic area with children racing around. On my last visit I saw a woman having a ‘play fight’ with her toddler, using the wooden crosses we buy to lay on Fields of Remembrance and War Memorials as ‘swords’. It is in danger of turning into just a giant park, and people who travel there from all over the world may wonder just what our idea of ‘Memorial’ is.

  2. We have been today, and used the App with our 3 grandchildren. It really is amazing, especially the poppies going through the Archway! Well done to the developers. While I agree it is not good to let children dis-honour any of the memorials, at 3 or 4 they are not to know- it’s up to the parents to have respect and control. Remember Mrs H we have been locked in for months and not seen families. It will die down as more places open i am sure. The arboretum is a superb place and a credit to the volunteers and to this area.

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