Critical Distance

September 29, 2021 – Spring 2022

Credit: Andrew Harrington and Joshua Downs, Formative Co.

National Museum of Natural History
10th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Floor Plan

Critical Distance is a free, augmented-reality experience emphasizing the intrinsic connection between people, orcas, and the ocean. The experience immerses visitors in a holographic orca pod and allows them to witness this endangered species’ daily obstacles. Visitors will see firsthand how the orcas, including 6-year-old Kiki, must overcome marine noise pollution and vessel disturbances to effectively hunt for food—and, ultimately, survive.

Before visitors enter the experience, they will meet the orcas, learn about their unique habitat and uncover humanity’s long connection to both. Then they will don mixed-reality headsets, called the Microsoft HoloLens 2, in small groups to submerse themselves in the experience as Jamie Margolin, youth climate justice activist and co-executive director of Zero Hour, narrates. Afterward, visitors will be encouraged to explore ways to support marine conservation with hands-on activities.