Image credit: Museum Narrenschopf Dürrenheim
Museums of Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht
How can intangible aspects of cultural practices and customs be experienced digitally and the knowledge about them mediated interactively? The carneval museums Fastnachtsmuseum Narrenschopf and Fasnachtsmuseum Schloss Langenstein are exploring exactly this topic as a part of the museum4punkt0 project that is sponsored by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Museum Narrenschopf Bad Dürrheim and Fasnachtsmuseum Schloss Langenstein both present numerous exhibits and therefore primarily tangible artifacts related to Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht. However, the tangible reflects only a part of the culture connected to its artifacts.
What could digitally supported strategies for learning and communication look like in small museums staffed by volunteers? Would digital technologies help to communicate the intangible aspects of Fastnacht? In collaboration with other museums of Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht, Fastnachtmuseum Narrenschopf is exploring these topics in a joint sub-project.
THE VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF FASTNACHT
Museum Narrenschopf plans to invite users to upload their own Fastnacht experiences in the form of images, texts, and videos. Supplemented by interactive formats such as a virtual Fastnacht band, it is intended to stimulate an exchange among visitors. With its virtual tour guide and mixed reality applications, Fasnachtsmuseum Schloss Langenstein is developing a “virtual” companion that recognizes and supports individual visitors on their way through the museum without using equipment that has to be carried along.
Museum Narrenschopf’s objective is to create 360 degree videos to enable visitors to experience Fastnacht all year round. The videos will be available via two different presentation channels – VR goggles and a dome projection similar to that of a planetarium. This allows the museum to study individual vs. group reception of the same content based on larger groups of people.
INSIGHTS FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED MUSEUMS
Museum Narrenschopf aims at using technologies that make their reuse possible for small and medium-sized museums such as 360 degree video production for their own event- and experience-related recordings. Therefore, a basic framework that can be adapted to exhibitions and outreach programs of other museums will be created.
Since the museum documents all the steps they take, others will be able to follow the course of the sub-project – from the concept development phase and testing with visitors to demo installation with instructions for installation. Changes in the project plan and failed tests will be included in the documentation to allow other institutions to use these experiences to inform their own decisions.
FIRST RESULTS TESTED
Just in time for the approaching 2019 carnival season, the post-production of the 360-degree films for this year’s 2018 carnival season was completed: The film material and soundtracks of selected performances was stitched together, cut, and, together with a menu for easy selection and control of the film, played onto the VR glasses.
Parallel to the 45th Bad Dürrheimer Christmas Market, a large VR test weekend was held at the Museum Narrenschopf on December 1 and 2, 2018: All member guilds of the Vereinigung Schwäbisch-Alemannischer Narrenzünfte e.V. (Association of Swabian-Alemannic Fool Guilds) (VSAN) were invited to test the 360-degree films in the museum. The participants of the VR test weekend were able to take on very special observer positions and experience the Fastnacht customs from perspectives that are usually not accessible to spectators during the varied and colourful carnival processions
The feedback of the approximately 135 participants of the VR test weekend confirmed the work of the project team of the Museum Narrenschopf: The enthusiasm of the old and young fools and museum visitors for this new form of mediation and accessibility to the special features of the Swabian-Alemannic carnival was great!