Exhibition: Van Gijn House – total museum experience
Museum: Van Gijn House (Dordrecht, Netherlands)
In the Van Gijn House, a digital project started with a very analogue problem. The house of banker and collector Simon van Gijn, who lived there from 1864 until his death in 1922, is one of the best preserved houses from the 19th century in the Netherlands. Room after room is filled to the brim with the original furniture and extensive collections of the banker. But when walking through the house, visitors cannot see how the house was originally used. So how could the museum make the visitors better understand how life must have been like during that time?
Wyke Sybesma, curator at the museum, came up with a clever idea and thought that the employees of the museum should re-enlive the life of the habitants at the time – as not only Simon van Gijn lived there, but also his wife and servants. After some experiments, the museum applied for funding, which was granted, and so started the project Misses Fijn van Draat. For 24 hours, all employees took on the role of Simon van Gijn, his wife and the servants (under the leadership of Misses Fijn van Draat). They cooked, cleaned and dined as if they were living in the 19th century, and all of this was also captured on camera. In the end, all their experiences are gathered in the app ‘Ask Misses Fijn van Draat’ that offers extra information to visitors while walking through the building. Additionally, visitors can learn more of the 19th century life by visiting the blog or the facebook page of the project.