Imagineear, leading creator of digital content and apps, has announced the creation of a self-guided audio tour in eight languages for the largest ever exhibition on Auschwitz. The exhibition features over 700 original objects, never seen before in North America.
Imagineear has created the technology behind the self-guided audio tour which is scripted, recorded and translated by Musealia. The tour is available in eight languages – English, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Mandarin, German, Polish and Russian.
In May 2019, the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibition about Auschwitz to be shown in North America opened at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. The exhibition is called Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. It features multi-language self-guided multimedia tours, provided by Imagineear.
The New York opening follows a highly successful run at Madrid’s Arte Canal, where it attracted over 600,000 visitors. This makes it one of the most visited installations in Europe over the last year.
A groundbreaking exhibition
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is the result of a partnership between exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. It has been curated by a global team of experts, led by historian Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt. The exhibition is an exploration of the dual identity of the camp. Auschwitz is both a physical location (the largest documented mass murder site in human history) and a symbol of the borderless manifestation of hatred and human barbarity. It is on view until January 2020.
“This is the second iteration of the exhibition tour,” explained Alex Nugée, Project Manager at Imagineear. “When it opened previously in Madrid, the visitor tour was on our MediaPacker devices. In moving on to New York, Musealia looked to enlarge and develop the exhibition further to work better in the space offered by the Museum of Jewish Heritage. They also wanted to emphasise the importance of educating new audiences to the historical significance of the events that took place in Auschwitz. This naturally led Musealia to upgrade the technology hardware to match the new extended experience.”
Never before seen objects
The exhibition is a collection of over 700 original objects and 400 photographs, mainly from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Many of these artefacts, sourced from more than 20 international museums and institutions, are on view for the first time in North America. Visitors can view a range of objects, including hundreds of personal items – such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes – that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz.
Artefacts featured in the exhibition include concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp and also a part of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp. Other objects include an original German-made Model 2 freight train car used for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland. Also on show is a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest-serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, as well as a gas mask used by the SS and Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage has added many items from its own collection into this exhibition. This includes around 100 rare artefacts that show the experience of survivors and liberators who made a new life in New York and the surrounding area.
The interface design of the self-guided tour was created by Imagineear. The aim was to reflect the look and feel of the exhibition. The tour is scripted, recorded, and translated by Musealia. Visitors listen to the tour on one of Imagineear’s 700 advanced MPi touch-screen devices.
In addition, Imagineear provided 300 Digital GroupGuide devices to the Museum of Jewish Heritage. These allow the museum to lead educational groups and tours. Large audiovisual screens show original video footage, and Imagineear’s intelligent communications solutions mean that content is synced to visitors’ devices when they arrive at each screen. This gives guests the opportunity for quiet reflection on the poignant nature of the displays, without noise from other sources.
The materials on display at part of the exhibition are on loan from more than 20 institutions and private collections from around the world. As well as the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, these participating institutions include Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg, and the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide in London.