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Tips for Taking the NMAI Virtual Tour

We have several tips that may help you enjoy this virtual tour of the National Museum of the American Indian. These are tips about manipulating your web browser, using the maps provided in the tour, and using the QuickTime Virtual Reality Panoramas and Object Movies.


Maximize your browser window

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Once you are in the exhibition space of the tour, quite a bit of media will appear in two frames of your web browser. To reduce the amount you have to scroll to see all of the virtual exhibition space, try maximizing your browser window.

Resizing the frame windows

Resize Frames 1 Resize Frames 2
On standard VGA monitors you can move the divider bar between frames to widen the frame you wish to focus on.

The exhibition space part of the tour uses side-by-side frames to display the tour media. The left frame contains a QTVR panorama of the exhibition and a corresponding section of the tour map. The right frame displays the QTVR object movie of an item in the exhibition that you have selected to examine, plus an essay on the object. You can view both frames on SVGA and higher resolution monitors with no problem, but on standard VGA monitors, the media will be cropped in one of the frames. You can move the divider between the frames to widen the one you wish to focus on.

Using the tour maps to navigate the tour

From most of the screens in the virtual tour you can click on a link called "Tour Maps" to get maps of the Creation's Journey and All Roads Are Good exhibitions. The maps show where all of the QTVR panoramas (or panos) have been taken in the exhibitions. Yellow circles represent the locations of QTVR panos. Clicking on any of the yellow circles indicating a panorama will take you directly to that part of the virtual tour.

The tour maps also show where all of the objects in the tour are. If you wish to examine a given object, simple click on the panorama nearest the object on the tour map. You will then be able to pick out the display object from the panorama or the sectional tour map below the panorama.

In the exhibition space part of the tour, the relevant section of the tour map appears below each QTVR panorama. A highlighted circle shows the location of the current panorama. Other circles show the location of nearby panoramas. You can go directly to nearby panoramas by clicking on their circles on these sectional tour maps.

The sectional tour maps also have thumbnail pictures of objects on display in the virtual tour. Clicking on these thumbnail pictures will bring up the QTVR object movies and their accompanying essays in the right frame of the virtual exhibition space.

Interacting with QuickTime VR movies

QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) movies are "interactive" movies that come in two versions, panoramas and objects. The QTVR panoramas are virtual spaces. Hold down the mouse button and move the mouse cursor in the direction you wish to look and the QTVR panorama will scroll in that direction. Be sure to move the mouse right after holding down the button, or a menu will show up instead.

QTVR object movies are movies taken of objects from a number of angles. Hold down the mouse button and move the mouse cursor in the direction you want to rotate the object. Some of the objects in the exhibition may be rotated both horizontally and vertically, some may be rotated only horizontally, and some are just "still pictures" that will not rotate at all, but have details to zoom in on.

Object movie hints: There is a short description of the interaction capability below each QTVR object movie (for example: "horizontal rotation only, two detail hot spots").

QTVR Panorama showing hot spots>
  <FONT SIZE=A QTVR Panorama showing hot spots

Hot spots are areas on the QTVR movies that make certain things happen when you click on them. The mouse cursor will change when you roll over a hot spot in a QTVR movie, plus, some text will appear in the QTVR movie controller bar indicating what the hot spot represents. Clicking on some hot spots on the QTVR panoramas will take you to the next panorama in the tour. Other hot spots will bring up a displayed object in the right frame of the virtual exhibition space.

Some of the QTVR object movies have hot spots that bring up selected details on the objects. Details have one large hot spot covering the whole movie window that will take you "back to the full view" of the object, as indicated in the controller bar text.

Example of Show Hot Spots buttonClicking on the "Show Hot Spots" button will "light up" the hot spots in the QTVR movie. Double-clicking on this button will make it stay active, so you can rotate a QTVR object movie or pan a QTVR panorama to find where the hot spots are. Clicking on the depressed button will make it pop up again.

Example of Zoom In buttonClicking on the "Zoom In" button will zoom in the QTVR panorama or object for a closer look. Pressing the Shift key will also cause the movie to zoom in. There is a limit to how far you can zoom in and see better detail.

Example of Zoom Out buttonClicking on the "Zoom Out" button will cause a panorama or object that has been zoomed in to zoom out. Pressing the Control key will also cause the movie to zoom out.