Like most other new cultural edifices, the Humboldt Forum is to be equipped with the very latest media technology. Nothing spectacular, you might think, but there’s something different going on in this project – a project destined to be different from the start.
Most visitors will be familiar with the sort of multimedia exhibition elements that have been in use in other museums for some time. Films, listening stations or digital research platforms will also be available at the Humboldt forum, of course, in the Staatliche Museen exhibitions on the second or third floors, for example. In addition to the well over 100 media elements in the exhibitions areas there are also more exotic formats to be found, thanks to the new, custom design of the exhibitions. For example visitors will be able to experience spectacular images projected onto the cupola in the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, which, at over twenty metres in diameter and with over 50,000 lumens will present exhibition contents in a most spectacular fashion.
The Ethnologisches Museum on the second floor will also host a variety of multimedia treats: a wave field synthesis system will be installed in the listening chamber under the domed hall. This technology – one which has only been introduced in only a few instances around the world – allows for acoustically perfect spatial audio rendering, so that the listener can experience sounds from a wide variety of spaces, such as different arrangements of musical instruments, in a natural, true-to-life manner. The visitor not only has a first-row seat, so to speak, but he or she can also experience the sound from the stage itself.
In keeping with the spirit of the times, there is also a focus on visitor interaction. In addition to a variety of exhibition stations with touchscreens which allow visitors to experience and research exhibition contents independently, they will also be able to use advanced navigational systems throughout the building as well as tablet areas which help them conduct their own research and plan their visit according to their needs.
Another unexpected innovation for most museum visitors will be the Humboldt Forum’s hall 2, which can be transformed into a cinema for several hundred viewers at short notice. A cinema quality projection screen, twelve-metre- wide high-end 4K with surround sound is a permanent feature, and the tiered seating offering optimal viewing conditions can be installed “overnight”. All of this is made possible by two event rooms on the ground floor that are right next to the foyer, as well as various seminar and ancillary areas where the Humboldt Forum can stage a diverse programme of events.
Unique to the Humboldt Forum, is the landmark-like Cosmograph, which welcomes visitors in the foyer at the central ticket stand. This massive digital component of the museum’s guidance, orientation and informational system network is a twenty-metre-high, threedimensional LED tower that shows the way, both literally and with its cutting edge technology. In addition to its function as a digital signpost in the foyer, this elaborate, interactive installation comprised of media servers, sensors and control elements will also offer visitors a unique experience. Visitors will be able to experience the Cosmograph in the Humboldt Forum as soon as the museum opens its doors.
David Hornschuh is an engineer specialized in event challenges. He is responsible for IT systems in the Humboldt Forum.