Virtual Reality
Synagogues at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Virtual reality (VR) has become an interesting form of mediation for more and more museums – including the Jewish Museum in Berlin, as there is no more impressive way to present lost architecture. For example, three synagogues from the Digital Design Unit’s collection were prepared for the museum's new permanent exhibition. The synagogues in Köln Glockengasse, Hannover and Plauen, which were destroyed during the Nazi era, can now be entered virtually. Visitors take a seat on a chair and immerse themselves in the magnificent world of these three houses of worship. In seven minutes, they can experience the lost – because destroyed – interiors as if they were sitting in one of the pews and looking around freely. The aim is also to use digital images to break down barriers to getting to know Jewish culture and to introduce the otherwise unknown space of a synagogue. Virtual reality should make it possible to visit a synagogue and to familiarise oneself with the appearance of the interior and the course of a service. We may be at the beginning of a development in which virtual spaces of remembrance can develop a significance for the culture of remembrance. The VR installation was developed by Architectura Virtualis, a cooperation partner of the TU Darmstadt. A narrator accompanies and explains the virtual world. Two installations have been realised, one in German and one in English,and the visual experience of the VR glasses are synchronously displayed on a screen.

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