Two emerging technologies for visualization in museum exhibitions are augmented reality and virtual reality, using position and orientation sensors to map and overlay information using immersive visual aids. In this paper we develop a novel layer-based interface design enabling a user to shift between augmented and virtual reality through limited panning movements and focusing actions. This is developed using real time visualization technology with the use context of an unsupervised outdoor installation. A participatory development and design process is carried out in iterative steps, in which users explore means of interaction through an uninformed meeting with the technology driven by the users’ own curiosity. We show that users are able to navigate easily through multiple visualized layers through the limited interaction possibilities afforded by the hardware robustness requirements. Additionally the implemented interface is designed to be compatible with standard smartphone hardware with a minimum of specialized parts.