Museums are doing a great deal to keep up with the current trends, some even being a step ahead and we love that at WAM! But we also love vintage when it is appropriate, and turning directly to exhibition spaces to create a compelling experience is always a good idea!

Visitors who visit your museum today will not see it exactly as it was fifty or a hundred years ago… Or will they? The Staedel Museum now allows its visitors and users to explore its spaces as they were at key eras thanks to 3D reconstruction.
With its robust team of historians and archivists, the Staedel Museum shows us what collecting and exhibiting meant in 1816, 1833 and 1878. Those are three key dates for the Staedel: they correspond to the opening of the museum in the original building – Johann Friedrich Städel’s private house, the move to the palace on Neue Mainzer Strasse and the inauguration of the core building at the current location in Frankfurt am Main.

Called Zeitreise (which means, as you may have guessed, “time travel”), the project lets users explore the rooms through a website or directly with a Gear VR.
Zeitreise is the result of several years of research about the collection and the hanging of artworks: users will learn about the trends that made 19th century curators hang paintings next to each other rather than further apart as it is done today. Beyond learning about how paintings were displayed, visitors of the 19th-century Staedel Museum will be able to zoom on each painting and access information like the provenance of the painting and all indications from current catalogs – that can also be found in the Staedel’s digital extension launched in 2014. The website is a true journey through the history of Germany’s oldest museum foundation, which collection covers several centuries, from Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt until Yves Klein and Jeff Wall.
When Jochen Sander, Head of German, Dutch and Flemish Paintings before 1800, and his team started the research work about hanging at the Staedel in the 1990s, they probably did not expect that their results would be entered into a database at the beginning of the 2010s and that they would be accessible to the public in such a visual, attractive immersive way. Part of the core mission of the Staedel Museum is the the scholarly investigation of their holdings, a field in which it can be difficult to find a attractive way to showcase results. Zeitreise is a great proof that digital is not only the job of a digital team, but can be initiated by research and curation teams or used to make their work more accessible to a wide audience.

Even though the project probably required a big technical effort and cooperation with an outside player, the content itself already existed and is fully aligned with a part of the museum’s DNA that was not necessarily known to regular visitors.


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