Virtual Worlds News: Holocaust Museum Launching Kristallnacht Second Life Exhibit with Involve

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has cooperated with a game developer to produce a Second Life memorial to Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass,” a series of state-sponsored anti-Jewish riots in 1938).

I haven’t visited the site yet, but it looks like there’s a deliberate attempt to distance the player from the experience, by casting the player in the role of a journalist who investigates a site after the pogroms have taken place.

Involve CEO Drew Stein says the project was a labor of love that
Involve executed at cost with contributions mostly from its senior
developers and partners. He sees it as an evolution of work that began
15 years ago in museums experimenting wiht large-scale environmental
graphics, only now the environment and the graphics are virtual.  The
3D, immersive nature, though, provides a more visceral experience, he

“That’s one of the things we learned from the kids we
worked with a year ago. There’s a different sense of reality,” agreed
Kevlan. “That’s one of the things we’re hoping for that the folks that
come through will not only learn more about history, but absorb it
differently. When you go through the streets and see the kiosk or the
newspapers hanging on windows, you absorb it. The thing for us is to
how to do this without trivializing it or making it feel gamelike. You
don’t want them to feel like they were there, because they weren’t, but
that they’ll know something more.”

According to a message sent by US Holocaust Memorial official David Klevan to the social issue games newsgroup:

This project was inspired by a beta concept and design developed by teenagers
working at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in partnership with
Global Kids and the teen-run design firm, Digital Refinery.  It was designed for
the Main Grid by Involve, Inc.