The Sculptures Come “Alive” with Augmented Reality

cellphone The Mississippi River Sculpture Park, is  Prairie du Chien’s first and only city park to incorporate augmented reality for every visitor.  The park, located on the north end of St. Feriole Island, is open all year and free of charge for all. It is a park with no swings, jungle gym, slide or sandbox.
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park has five life sized bronze sculptures. Each sculpture depicts a person who has visited the area at one time or another. That, in and of itself, should make this park unique.
Now, with the aid of an internet capable mobile device and a special app, the five sculptures come alive.  Each one actually appears on the mobile device screen and tells their story. Mel Igou, a frequent visitor says, “This is marvelous!  It’s so simple. I simply love this aspect of the visit.”
Brochures, located at the Prairie du Chien Visitor Information Center, Local Oven Bakery, The River District  Hotel, and The Little Library at the park, describe these three simple steps: 1) Download the free App called HP Reveal; 2) Search for and follow MRSP. (mrsp’s Public Auras); 3) Point the mobile device camera at each of the sculptor's description: and watch the sculpture come alive.
You can test the app out right now. Follow the three steps above. Open HP Reveal on your mobile device. Click the view button at the bottom of the screen. The view button looks like the corners of a square.  Aim the HP Reveal viewfinder at the image below. Watch what happens. Does a video Appear? You should be viewing a short video about the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.
Today, there are five life-sized sculptures: Chief Black Hawk, Dr. William Beumont and son, Israel, a Victorian Lady, a voyager, and Emma Big Bear. Each one intricately sculpted. Again, Florence Bird: “It may not be understood that these are one-of-a-kind works of art made in the tradition of famous museum pieces and other public bronze monuments. They are each made especially for the Mississippi River Sculpture Park in Prairie du Chien, to illustrate the history and prehistory of this area. These statues are not mass produced decorative garden pieces. Each one requires its own separate production process starting with the inspiration of the artist. The whole process takes from 6 to 8 months for each statue. The techniques and tools are similar to ones used for bronze statues of all ages. Each bronze statue will last for thousands of years. “
The sculpture park is in the final stages of fundraising for the sixth bronze sculpture, Marianne Labuche.  Marianne Labuche, was the first person to heal the sick in Wisconsin. Her patients called her "Aunt Marianne".  Labuche came up the Mississippi River about 1790. She married three times and was the mother of fourteen children. She filled a crucial need in the Wisconsin frontier with her knowledge of herbs, midwifery, and Native American and folk medicine.
**This is not a perfect system. The app is dependent on having an internet connection to work. Additionally, the viewfinder can be finicky. Although we have tried to choose objects that work 100% of the time, a change in lighting or another uncontrollable factor can cause the app to be unable to recognize the image. When the app is not able to recognize the image the overlay will not appear.
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