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Dialog Romantik - a journey through the 19th century

3D Storytelling: Staged Digitization of an Archive.

One of several digitization projects of the Stadt- und Stiftsarchiv Aschaffenburg.

Knowledge World Romanticism for school classes

Aschaffenburg is a Brentano town. The important romanticist Clemens Brentano died in Aschaffenburg and his estate was administered by his brother Christian and his family. The archive contains records from the Brentano family archive that can tell students a lot about the Romantic period. Some of the digitized items can now be virtually understood in Dialog Romantik in a fascinating way.

  • Archival materials digitized as 3D scans
  • Three-dimensional scenes for context
  • Knowledge world as a virtual community tour
  • Different learning formats in one application
  • Accompanying didactic teaching material

What is the VR exhibition about?

When it was clear that Clemens would die, Christian brought his older brother to him, in 1842. Thus, Clemens became an Aschaffenburg resident on his last days. This is where he and his family are buried, and this is also how the Brentano family archive comes to Aschaffenburg - to the City and Abbey Archives. The idea of the project: Let's digitize the archives and stage them in a three-dimensional space for students.

We have divided the exhibition into different time periods. They are based on key dates in German history. Aschaffenburg in the 19th century is presented, and women and women's rights of the time are highlighted. Even the novel as we know it is actually inconceivable without the Romantics - there are learning stations on all topics. Last but not least, it's about archives. What is their task and why are they essential for our knowledge of history?

"Until now, I haven't seen a pedagogical tool nearly as comprehensive for teaching a complex topic like romance to my students."

A high school teacher about dialogue romance

Prepared learning material

The exhibition is suitable for virtual field trips by school classes. Specially prepared teaching material makes it easy for teachers to orient themselves in terms of content. Thematic areas include media reflection, people, sources, homeland and dialog romance. Contents are listed and can be used for practical group work. The lounge is suitable for this. Here there is screen sharing and speaker mode. Perspective sharing is suitable for group tours. Gathering function is helpful when everyone moves freely in the room.

As the name suggests, it's about entering into a dialogue with Romanticism. What can we learn from the time? What were the challenges for people 200 years ago. And how similar are they to ours today. How do we respond to our times? Are we also developing new art forms?

To make understandable the context in which people lived at that time. Specifically: how did the Brentanos live back then, where did they come from, what moved them, and why did they become famous? The question was how to build worlds of experience for archival materials. How can they be integrated, made tangible and understandable?


Learning stations, knowledge trail and pavilions

We have created a knowledge path for this purpose. With knowledge drawers that open when you approach them, when you are interested in them. The knowledge path is divided into time periods. You walk through the 19th century, so to speak, and pass by the protagonists. We dedicate virtual pavilions to those who left something behind. There, their legacy comes to life.

In Clemens' case, it is a death mask that is in the spotlight. It might not have made it into exhibition spaces. But if you look at the question, why were there death masks in the first place, and for whom? Then you learn a lot about the time and its people. Christian was a bon vivant, an artist, a free spirit, not a businessman. But a family man. His satirical play on Napoleon and his grafitties give an idea of who he would be today.

Bettine, beloved sister, was far less religious than her brothers. Lover of Goethe, at least as she described it, revolter against the king and for poverty, fighter in spirit and against conventions. All these may be reasons why she was on our 5 DM bill. She probably carved the ivory crib from the estate on the side.

Video Bubble and Audio Guide

Again and again we encounter Joseph Merkel, the family friend. In audio boxes, he guides us through the years and decades. A wonderful opportunity to either go on a discovery tour alone or to be guided together.

Why tuijo works?

The transfer of archival materials into 3D scans is fascinating and their quality is now genuinely convincing. These digitized files can now be embedded in a context that can be experienced. This is a lot of fun and stimulates our imagination to look for further fields of application.

If one now visits the VR environment virtually and with several people together, different experience or mediation formats can be tried out: Tasks can be solved cooperatively or competitively in groups. Critical discussions can also be conducted across subjects: Art, literature, history, media competence, team building, politics.

In the three-dimensional, the change of perspective is possible narratively or playfully. Interaction and shared experience are in the foreground. Through scenic images, more complex contexts can be presented in a light-footed manner.


Thanks to a grant from "WissensWandel. Digital program for libraries and archives within NEUSTART KULTUR" the project could be realized.