PATERSON, NJ - The Passaic County Freeholders recently approved Google Expeditions to include Historic Dey Mansion in Wayne to its virtual reality database.

Google Expeditions allows educators to bring students on virtual reality field trips, providing students an opportunity to learn about museums, historical landmarks, and other points of interest. Google Expeditions photographs each location and pieces them together to provide a 360 view. The Google Expeditions app can utilize a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, but it is not required. Additionally, Google provides the app and documentation services free of charge. Passaic County has officially joined the vast partnership, which includes WNET, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Planetary Society, to name a few.

“The Dey Mansion is more than a house that George Washington slept in, it’s a place where he changed history,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara. “I am thrilled that Google is funding this phenomenal education initiative. The Expedition App brings all of this history into the classroom, and provides students with a more impactful learning experience.”

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Google Expeditions creates content that can be integrated with existing course curriculums, annotating points of interest with detailed information and allowing teachers to add questions specific to their curriculum. Google Expeditions has sent out teams to document these sites and provides maintenance for the app, but also provides kits through Best Buy Education. By accepting verified user-generated content, Google Expeditions is rapidly expanding their virtual database.

“Google is performing a great service to our students by making this resource available, but they realized it was even more important to make their app as accessible to educators as possible,” said Freeholder T.J. Best. “Not all students have smartphones and not all schools have Wi-Fi for classrooms, but that does not prevent students in struggling school districts from learning about the world with this app.”

Google Expeditions provides an opportunity for students to bring distant places such as the Great Wall of China or the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza into the classroom, but an equally important part of their mission is to make this service as accessible as possible. The program offers kits, which include routers that allow the app to run without an internet connection and tools to turn student’s smartphones into VR headsets.