A new virtual reality tour aims to bring history to life, tracing the steps of Daniel Boone in the late 1700s. Boone led the way for 200,000 to 300,000 settlers through the Cumberland Gap in 1775, earning the nickname "father of the Western movement."
The Boone Society, an organization made up of over 300 Boone family descendants, plans to have the first part of an immersive virtual reality tour ready by spring 2018. The group started the project in 2012.
"We're incorporating a virtual tour guide who will film a series all along the Boone Trace Corridor so that he can explain in virtual reality exactly what happened at a spot," said Sam Compton, president of the Boone Society.
Compton said the project will turn the Boone Trace Corridor into a living classroom. The corridor traces Boone's path through Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia.
"For example, [the guide] will be able to say 'that hill over there is where Daniel Boone came across,'" Compton said.
The first phase of the project will open the virtual reality tour to Kentucky. Eventually, the organization plans to expand the tour to all five states along the corridor. Compton said the Boone Society also hopes to draw in international tourism.
"All the infrastructure was in place. All it took was for us to orchestrate it all together, to bring tourism in a much needed area ... to create an economic boom!" he said.
The group relied mostly on charitable fundraising campaigns to fund the project.