New virtual reality tour of Kellogg Mansion stationed at USF library

Multimedia correspondent Diego Adesso tested the virtual reality simulation at the exhibit. ORACLE VIDEO/DIEGO ADESSO

A section of the first floor of the building was closed off by USF library officials to place an immersive 45-60 minute exhibit of the Kellogg Museum that will be open to students from Sept. 21 through March 1. 

The Floridian mansion, built in 1925 in Dunedin, will be shown using virtual reality (VR) to digitally preserve the architecture of the recently-demolished Kellogg Museum, according to Research Associate Professor and Co-Director Lori Collins.

“The idea is to get students, faculty and researchers interested in heritage preservation, showing them heritage lost, but also showing them how heritage can be preserved,” Collins said. “If not physically, then at least digitally.”

The home of the founder of the Kellogg company, W. K. Kellogg, was announced for demolition in 2021 and executed a year later to make way for a new home on the waterfront location, according to a May 4, 2021 Tampa Bay Times article. The preservation project is part of the USF Libraries Digital Heritage and Humanities Collection. 

The display includes a chair, where students will be required to sit in order to use the VR headset, and controllers connected to a monitor. Interactive elements, such as the art and architecture inside the mansion, are also included in the experience.

Appointments should be made through a QR code displayed in front of the immersive experience display. ORACLE GRAPHIC/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

Miniature replica statues accompanied by surrounding descriptions of the Kellog mansion’s history are positioned around the chair. 

Due to its centered location, library employee and computer science major Kori Tengoll said the exhibit will mostly attract graduate students who already go to the first floor seeking these “research” tours.

“Just regular undergraduate students, they will look at it but they won’t sit down and watch it,” Tengoll said. “It will be like ‘I can’t’ and keep walking.” 

Now in its physical form, the tour will also be added to the library’s digital collections, according to Collins. She said the exhibit’s location reflects the preservation project, as the building is an essential part of campus. 

“The library is the heart of the campus for research and for learning,” she said. “Our center is in the library because we are a neutral territory, and we work with all the different departments across campus.”

Julia Saad, Staff Writer

Julia Saad started as a news correspondent in fall 2022. During Saad's tenure at The Oracle, she has covered a variety of news. However, Saad's favorite topic to cover is being able to place readers in the ambient environments of USF events.