AMHERST - Thirteen local museums are about to be visible through online virtual tours.
The Cumberland County Heritage Network has received $11,250 from the provincial Strategic Development Initiative for a video tool that will link the museums into a series of virtual tours.
"The purpose is to promote the area and the heritage sector, and to bring in more tourism because it's a win-win for everyone," said network chairman Oralee O'Byrne. "Every tourist dollar that comes in is spent three-fold, through restaurants, gas stations and accommodations."
The "Virtual 360" tours will see three sections or rooms from each participating museum available to be experienced on the Internet. The online visitor will virtually standing in the room, and will be able to turn 360 degrees and focus on different items.
O'Byrne said a similar heritage network in the Yarmouth area took on such a project and has attained plenty success and positive feedback. The board contacted Josh Hanson, who designed the Yarmouth tours, and then applied for funding after receiving their go-ahead from their memberships.
Participating museums are the Cumberland County Museunm and Archives, Ottawa House in Parrsboro, Heritage Models in River Hebert, Fundy Gelogical Museum in Parrsboro, Malagash Salt Mine Museum, the Cumberland County Genealogical Society and the Wallace and Area Museum, while The Creamery in Tatamagouche has also become involved as an associate.
It is hoped to see the site, which will be accessible through Tourism Nova Scotia, launched by early summer, according to O'Byrne.
The whole idea is to keep up with the times, according to Cumberland County Museum curator Shirley Nickerson.
"People nowadays plan their vacations before they leave, so this is another tool that will give people an opportunity to see at least 122 different museums in Cumberland County before their even get here," she said.
The Strategic Development Initiative encourages archives, community museums, municipal governments, regional development authorities, and non-profit groups to co-operate on projects that build on their community's heritage assets.
"Our partners have excellent ideas for sustainable made-in-Nova-Scotia heritage projects," said Percy Paris, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. "We're pleased to help strengthen their ideas and the heritage sector through funding support."