EMIGRATION MUSEUM, GDYNIA
The complex history of Poland, which is much close to us, still arouses lot of emotions. Days could be spent talking about the fate of Poles, including those staying abroad. They left their country to look for new life, escape from war, search for bread or just to pursue their dreams. Extensive scientific publications, thick volumes and countless movies seem to have told everything about emigration, yet it is being constantly rediscovered. Not only do we remember the winding paths of our ancestors, but we also miss children, parents and friends who chose to live abroad. Now how do you tell a story that is not easy, but after all so important for our Nation? With so much told already, how to spin a story that is both interesting and provokes reflection? We admit that it was a real challenge for us. We invested a lot of time and knowledge and put our hearts and souls into this project. Also the place where the Emigration Museum is located – the historic building of the Gdynia Maritime Station – is not accidental. For decades, millions of Poles would board ships there and set off to find a better tomorrow. We hope that the museum exhibitions also take visitors on a fascinating journey in the footsteps of Polish emigrants.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SOLUTION
When designing the AV system for the Emigration Museum, we knew that we had to venture off the beaten path. The sheer scale of the project and extraordinary designs required the use of unusual solutions. We demonstrated at the very beginning of the exhibition. In the Main Hall, visitors are greeted by a spectacular globe, inside of which we have placed four multimedia stands with touch screens. In addition, a part of the presentation is displayed on the inside of the dome by DLP projectors for a perfectly sharp image with vivid colors. We also ensured discreet lighting to help people focus and to create a background for the captivating stories displayed on the walls of the globe. Additionally, in the two arches around the globe, we installed four interactive multimedia presentation stands with touch screens. As the structural network was built from scratch, it is compatible with the AV system.
The toned down Main Hall, which is a gateway to the history of immigrants is contrasted with the Migration Room, which is filled with hubbub of medieval and modern languages. They symbolize migration and national movements in Poland up to the 18th century. Thanks to the PanPhonic directional sound system, this apparent clamour takes on more sense – just stand at the speakers to hear the prayers in the languages spoken on Polish soil at that time. You can also get some historical information here – it is displayed on monitors, and the listening stands have been equipped with vandal-proof headphones that will serve thousands of visitors.
At the Civilization Leap exhibition you will be immersed in the turbulent times of the great revolution. The fog screen used at the entrance displays image directly on a cloud that you can walk right through. Here you can also see a steam machine with moving parts. We placed a smoke generator in it, and a sound system emitting sounds of cogs turning. The atmosphere of industrial districts is complemented by a smell generator imitating the scent of 19th century workshops, which enhances the impression of time travel.
A very special place, especially for the residents of Gdynia, is the Port, from which thousands of Poles sailed off in search of a better tomorrow. Visitors can feel the fear, hope and longing those travellers felt when boarding the transatlantic liner. Particularly impressive is the unbelievably realistic scenery with an illuminated sideboard with water flowing down. It has windows in which we installed monitors displaying pictures and videos from the intercontinental journeys. In turn, from the deck of the ship you can view the sun rising over the horizon. We achieved this effect by installing 500 meters of LED strip with varying colours and light intensity under the Barrisol ceiling. The whole installation is controlled by a central CRESTRON system. In addition, we have equipped the cramped and uncomfortable third-class cabins with a smell generator so you can literally feel the dire conditions in which our compatriots ventured for bread.
New York was a place where the new world greeted them. Not everyone received a warm welcome though, but a range of opportunities lay open. This part of the story can be followed on photos and kiosks with monitors speaking about the arrival on the island of Ellis. Those who did not find happiness in North America migrated south. We presented the life in Brazil in the form of a video displayed from two projectors in the blended mode. The projectors can display a synchronized composition, homogeneous in terms of brightness and colour, creating the effect of one large monitor. In this room we installed a device emitting the scent of Brazilian jungle.
The history of emigration in the Second Polish Republic was told in the form of an interactive journey. In the floor we installed pressure mats connected to the projectors and covered with a map of the world. When you step on a particular area, a video is displayed on the glacier wall showing the life of emigrants in this part of the world. The most appropriate place to tell the history of Gdynia as it was in those times is the port crane – the symbol of the city and the people leaving it aboard ships. We equipped it with a a rear projection screen which displays videos about everyday life in the 30s. However, it is the installation called “Batory under construction” that best reflects the true atmosphere of the Gdynia port. This is an impressive mock-up of the legendary ship, and is the museum’s most characteristic object. Visitors can be taken back in time thanks to the imitation of the glow of welded machines and loudspeakers emitting the sounds of ship construction in progress. Those who are eager to gain additional historical knowledge, can use NEC touch screens, projectors displaying videos and photos as well as interactive charts.
To experience the difficult history of Poles during and shortly after World War II, follow the corridor where we installed a monitor and vibrating speakers that will make you feel immersed in the surrounding sounds. The post-war history of Poles would not be complete without remembering the thousands of families deported to Siberia. They are symbolized by a pine forest and a soviet train carriage. We have supplemented the set with a system of gobo projectors displaying needle litter on the floor, in addition to a smell generator and lighting. This part of the exhibition has also been equipped with kiosks with touch screens and listening stands.
You need to remember that the post-ware fate of Poles is not only the East – they emigrated to the farthest corners of the world. You can read about the history of the Polish community on illuminated tubes, where – in addition to printouts with information from the world – we have placed monitors, including large-format 46” Samsung LCDs, touch screens and projectors so you can deepen your knowledge about life on different continents or play themed games. The listening stands with different language options have been equipped with monitors with headphones, while the tubes have been illuminated with LED strips.
Those who feel sentimental about Radio Free Europe broadcasts will certainly rejoice at the old radio receiver: you can step into it and go back in time for a while. The stylised listening stands, the reconstructed radio station and fragments of old broadcasts take visitors back to the times of the Polish People’s Republic. The key news releases from those times can be read on the advertising column. Those who wish to rest or reflect, may pause for a moment to listen to Jacek Kaczmarski’s songs, while those who long for old-style entertainment – can get into Fiat 126P, turn on the radio and listen to the broadcasts which entertained the old and the young. This is made possible using the sound system adapted to the stands.
At long last, the much awaited, hard-won and longed for Free Poland and 1989. The story of defining moments for Poland and the people who made the breakthrough is told by 17 open frame monitors set in the map of Poland, and a table with audiovisual stands, which we have equipped with touch screens and audio sets with headphones. We also took care of the exhibition and illumination of its individual elements.
Closely behind the wall there is an imitation of a real-size airplane interior, symbolizing emigration in the 21st century. To make visitors feel like on a real plane, we put lightbox lighting in the windows. Videos displayed on the monitors located in chair headrests seek to answer the question whether nowadays when you can cover hundreds of kilometers in a few hours on board of colossal machines, has emigration become any easier? How is it different from the journeys of our ancestors? What were the destinations?
The exhibition is crowned by a 360ocinema: 8 DLP projectors display images in the active stereoscopy technology on the wall of the round cinema room. The projectors are operated by presentation computers, compatible with the exhibition management system. They ensure full control over the image and sound provided by the sound system.
The museum also has an educational space for the youngest visitors. In the colorful, child-friendly interior, children can play and learn for hours. The 50” Samsung touchscreen monitor displays cartoons on topics associated with the museum, while the interactive floor and kinect projectors are the perfect set for themed games. The interactive space is complemented by a sound system and lighting adapted to the eyes of the youngest.
The Emigration Museum is more than exhibitions as numerous cultural events are staged there. They take place in the conference room, which often turns into a cinema room. This is possible thanks to the DLP projector displaying the image on a 350 cm wide projection screen. Normally, however, the room serves visitors as a multimedia library – it has four stands with Samsung monitors where you can search the museum’s multimedia resources.
In addition to permanent exhibitions, we have equipped the museum with five sets for temporary exhibitions. The sets include include a monitor on a trolley with an in-built player that can be used to display presentations or illuminate conference rooms, and a portable audio system for mass events, conferences or discussion panels.
For such large-scale projects as the Emigration Museum, it is not only the final result that is important – what also matters is reliability of AV systems and their ease of use. Most of the audio video components are compatible with the Crestron exhibition management system, which is used to control permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The Emigration Museum is 8 months of hard work, 184 multimedia stands, over 100 installations, 31 projectors, 70 monitors, 20 km of cables, 2 km of LED strips, directional and vibrating speakers, fog screen, scent machines, 360o cinema, pressure mats, full lighting control and many more. Above all, however, it is long hours spent on the project, specialist knowledge, sleepless nights and our hearts and souls put into each and every element of the AV system. It is only thanks to the fully committed and professional team that we have managed to achieve the result that we are delighted to tell you about. And we are proud of it.