Edutainment & Infotainment

Europäisches Hansemuseum Lübeck – history as a live experience with media equipment.

The object
Anyone wishing to know what the Hanseatic League (Hanse is the original German term) is all about should visit the Europäisches Hansemuseum for a trip into its history. Designed barrier-free, the museum complex in the northern part of the historic Lübeck city centre which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO consists of a newly constructed museum building, the elaborately restored medieval Lübeck castle monastery, and an area of grounds on the slopes of the castle hill on which the monastery is situated. The Europäisches Hansemuseum is a place where contemporary architecture and historical background merge: the perfectly crafted cubist structure with its monolithic character designed by Andreas Heller Architects & Designers is reminiscent of the medieval brick city wall which once ran along the bottom of the hill. With terraces open to the public overlooking what in earlier times had been the most important trade port of Europe, various courts, a playground, sophisticated catering, modern function rooms, and even a museum shop the Europäisches Hansemuseum Lübeck is an attractive destination for visitors of all ages. In the course of a tour of the exhibition they also learn what the activities in the foreign branch offices (Kontore is the original German term) of the Hanseatic League might have been like. The dioramas (showcases with model figurines and imitated landscapes) and cabinets alternate in an order scientists have found to be most appealing and adequate.
 
The job
Andreas Heller Architects & Designers developed the principles of participatory museum technology and a concept for the use of media equipment in the Europäisches Hansemuseum. ASC was charged with the technical implementation of their plans. Conferring with Andreas Heller Architects and Designers all through the process, ASC  was responsible for planning, programming, supplying and installing the participatory museum equipment and the network equipment in parts of the new building, the castle monastery, and the outdoor areas. The assignment not only included the media equipment as such but also IT solutions and the customised use of state-of-the-art RFID technology. Within the team of architects Ulf Klüsener was accountable for the project management. On the customer's side the technical director Frank Weetendorf is in charge of the media equipment installed.

The solution
In the Europäisches Hansemuseum reconstructed scenes give visitors a realistic impression of the major locations and activities which characterize the history of the Hanseatic League: they may walk for instance through a bustling market hall in Bruges (Belgium), explore the magnificent "London Stalhof" (steelyard), and have a look at an important dried cod transshipment point in Bergen (Norway). Lübeck is dealt with as a place associated with important stages in the development of the confederation of merchant guilds, taking into account for instance the effects of the pest spreading rapidly all over Europe in the 14th century, a fact which is interpreted as evidence for the high mobility of the merchants of the Hanseatic League. Media equipment is used to stage the meeting of representatives of the Hanseatic Cities in Lübeck referred to as "Hansetag" (Hanseatic Diet), again reviving the past with today's technical resources. Numerous interactive media stations enable visitors to understand economic ties, follow up trade routes, and get to know  life as it used to be in the era of the Hanseatic League. All of the listening stations are fitted with AKG K171 MKII closed-back on-ear studio head phones. Attached to Manfrotto "Magic Arm" brackets, LED-based flood panels by Derksen Lichttechnik without any special shading provisions emphasize the spatial impression and character of the staged scenes. The compact LED panels are controllable via DMX. Tannoy speakers which are virtually invisible project a backdrop of sound. In some areas of the museum even subwoofers are used which, producing low-frequency sound waves, have a perceptible influence on the sound track as a whole. Seven staged rooms in the new museum building are fitted with cutting-edge media equipment. More media equipment was provided in the areas "Hansekontor Bergen" and "Hanselabor" in the castle monastery. A Synexis system by beyerdynamic is available for use with guided groups. 
A major feature of the exhibition concept is the use of an RFID-based system (RFID = radio-frequency identification) which turns the tour of the museum into an individual experience for any visitor. With their tickets guests are handed a transponder which enables them to access theme-related information content and ensures a number of other functions such as access control as well. The transponders are passive types and are used in combination with short-range readers. 

The tickets can be placed flat on surfaces with the RFID symbol on those stations which are used for write operations. The way historic knowledge is transferred in the Hansemuseum meets even the highest demands. Information is primarily imparted in the form of text and illustrations, both printed and digitally edited.
Digital information is made available via differently sized Full-HD displays with touch functionalities some of which are coupled with RFID reader/writer units. The touch screens used in the museum are either industrial types (Elo Touch Solutions) or Samsung products suitable for digital signage applications. The desired content is transmitted by compact PCs from the Fujitsu portfolio which are located nearby - with some of the stations the small computers are installed right behind the displays.

Since all of the computers are connected to a Gigabit Ethernet network, any updated content can be distributed and remote maintenance and monitoring be performed with great convenience. The various rooms are interconnected via fibre optic cables with additional copper cables to provide redundancy. As for the media equipment the network integrates approximately 600 devices while a distribution into VLANs provides for expedient structuring. The media equipment is centrally managed by a Medialon media control system which the team of museum technicians can access via any of the computers and even via WLAN from their cell phones.

Moreover the Medialon control system works as a central power switch for the entire technical equipment and/or for subsets of the network. A special application ("Pre-Show Control", Medialon Manager V6 Show Control software) allows for controlling the elevator (request/enable, time of admission in two different intervals or manually) from the museum's point of sale. In the foyer a monitor was installed next to the entrance which shows the remaining waiting time in countdown style or else a request to enter.

A highlight catching the eye in the foyer is a display wall above the reception area which is composed of five 55" Samsung monitors mounted one above the other. They usually show entrance fees and general visitor information; any other information, for instance in connection with special events, can be fed to the display units via a content management system any time. Images from live cameras can be transmitted if required.

Questions? We’ll gladly assist.

  • Europa__isches-Hansemuseum_Slider-I_01.jpg

    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    The Europäisches Hansemuseum consists of a newly constructed museum building, the medieval Lübeck castle monastery, and exterior grounds open to the public. The cube-like building complex designed by Andreas Heller Architects & Designers stands out for high-quality materials and excellent workmanship.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    Before the actual tour begins, visitors are guided through an archaeological site ready to be shown to the public. On presenting their RFID tickets to any of the 16 reading stations available, visitors may watch gobos (graphical optical blackout masks) being projected on to selected segments.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    Interactive media stations enable visitors to understand economic involvements, follow up trading routes, and have a look at everyday life in the era of the Hanseatic League. Various screens visualize a storyboard. The scenes created with the aid of media equipment are supplemented by exhibits and a backdrop accurate in every detail.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    Display cases show original and facsimile documents and objects and other exhibits accompanied by text panels or flip-page e-books. To protect the exhibits care was taken to select types of illuminants which are free from infrared and UV components.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    Visitors' tickets feature a transponder which allows for accessing pre-produced content and ensures other functions like access control as well. Properly marked stations allow for the tickets to be placed flat on surfaces with the RFID symbol, this action setting off the read or write process.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    Full-HD displays with touch functions some of which are coupled with RFID readers/writers supply digitally edited information. They are fixed to rack systems developed by ASC. Graphic position displays visualize the respective information level you are on.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    When the international trade centre of Bruges increased trading duties, the Low-German merchants decided on boycotting it and assumed the name of "Hanse" (Hanseatic League) for their confederation. A sales hall with cloths and spices reminds the scenes typical of the time. Displays and RFID stations provide pertinent information.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    Historic, cultural, and economic connections, travel routes, and everyday life during the era of the Hanseatic League are communicated to the visitors via interactive media stations and screens. The picture shows how this is done with a triple projection ensured by silent Panasonic PT-EZ580 WUXGA video projectors.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    All of the listening stations are fitted with closed-back on-ear AKG K171 MKII studio headphones offering high wearing comfort and excellent sound. The picture above shows the museum station describing the three-crown war as part of the Nordic Wars with video and audio assistance.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    Although separate from the new museum building, the medieval castle monastery  belongs to the museum area as well. In an artistically staged scene, larger-than-life merchant figures have been opposed to three projection screens displaying images and major events which characterize the history of the Hanseatic League for visitors to contemplate.

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    Europäisches Hansemuseum

    In the year 1764 only one trading post remained which was situated in Bergen, Norway. In the castle monastery a theme monitor provides information on the special relationship of the Hanseatic League with Bergen which was based on the codfish as the most important Norwegian export commodity. A choice of four languages - German, English, Swedish and Polish - is available.

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