Rosewood: An Interactive History

Rosewood: An Interactive History

This page discusses the future plans regarding the Virtual Rosewood Research Project, and specifically the creation of the new Rosewood: An Interactive History. Unlike the current version of Virtual Rosewood, this new version includes updated 3D models, interactive content, and other features to create a more immersive experience. Continue reading to learn how you can help support this work.


A LOT has happened since the Virtual Rosewood Research Project began in 2005. Those early years were spent exploring new research methods, experimenting with digital technologies, and building rapport with interested parties. The initial version of this website and virtual reconstruction went live a short time later in 2007.

The initial version of Virtual Rosewood, and the accompanying website left much to be desired.

As research progressed and our approach to digital technologies evolved, Virtual Rosewood grew. An enormous amount of documentary research, oral history, and archaeological work has gone into the project. The resulting digital documentary, 3D modeling, and virtual world building remains the foundation for our public outreach.

By 2010 the current version of Virtual Rosewood was taking shape.

The heart of this project for many is its exploration of video game technologies. The initial virtual reconstruction of Rosewood went live in 2011. This included a web-based virtual world as well as a virtual museum in the (once) popular online world of Second Life. Thousands of people have interacted with the content and it remains a valuable resource.

The Virtual Rosewood Museum in Second Life was a popular gathering place for online educators. It has since been discontinued due to the high operating costs associated with Second Life.

The project’s future is bright. A recent grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources will fund additional archaeological work during 2018 and 2019. This is the first large-scale archaeological investigation of a race riot ever! It also expands research beyond Rosewood to include the neighboring community of Sumner. However, these sources of funding are not suitable to the project’s virtual future.

Updates to Virtual Rosewood focus on increased realism and interactivity.

It has been seven years since Virtual Rosewood went live. This is a LONG time in digital technology. The original version is out-of-date. Our plans for the future of Virtual Rosewood have been discussed in various publications. For a brief overview, see this specific publication from 2016.

Rosewood: An Interactive History includes numerous updates for a more immersive experience supporting the exploration of Rosewood’s history. (click image for animation)

Rosewood: An Interactive History is a unique approach to teaching history through the use of video game. It draws us into the rural world of north Florida 100 years ago. Users interact with various forms of information as they explore a richly detailed 3D world. This includes interacting with the material culture of the time period, accessing relevant archaeological and documentary data via an intuitive interface, and hearing audio recordings of survivors and descendants describe their lives in Rosewood and beyond.

Sample screenshot of opening from Rosewood: An Interactive History.

Several of the above images showcase the directions we’re taking Virtual Rosewood. However, due to timing limitations and funding shortages, development has slowed more than previously anticipated. As such, in the coming weeks we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to help support this and similar projects.

Until then, please join the Rosewood: An Interactive History email list to be notified of these and other updates to the project.

Thank you,
Virtual Rosewood Research Project