PORT ALBERNI -- Chris Fenton with Royal LePage in Port Alberni is creating virtual tours of museums in the Alberni Valley to help kids learn remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual tours are created by using a 3D camera that Fenton typically uses to show houses online.

The idea came to him when he was trying to be a teacher at home during self-isolation for his two young kids.

“It was clear that we could use this technology to help the school kids and everyone else that’s stuck at home to look at some of these great assets in our community,” said Fenton.

The 3D camera has nine lenses and sits on a tripod. It spins in a full rotation taking six sets of pictures with the nine different lenses and is moved every three feet until the entire space is complete. The images are then put into a software program which stitches it all together into a virtual tour.

The first tour he created was the Alberni Valley Museum, which took roughly four hours to completely scan. Fenton says that the museum was the largest project he’s done so far.

However, next up is the Alberni Industrial Heritage Society, which is approximately 20,000 square feet.

Fenton expects that scanning the entire museum, which showcases industrial equipment, will take several days.

The island resident says that the virtual tour technology has also helped him showcase homes during the pandemic.

“We sold a house two weeks ago to a couple from Ontario that never came to see it,” he said. “They were comfortable with the technology.”

The Alberni Valley Museum virtual tour can be found online here