Exhibition view from the Wenzel Hablik Museum in Itzehoe. The temporary exhibition De Ploeg shows expressionist art from the Netherlands.

Audio guide innovation at the Wenzel-Hablik-Museum - Do your visitors still rely on texts?

Audio-Cult audio guide. The easiest way to create audio guides
Lucas Hagin
May 23, 2023

Do visitors actually still read texts in museums today? In an interview with the Norddeutsche Rundschau, the director of the Wenzel-Hablik-Museum, Greta Kühnast, raises this question:

"To what extent do visitors even read the exhibition texts nowadays?" Kühnast had asked herself: "I catch myself quickly taking a photo in museums to read the text later." So a different form of interpretation is needed. The director explains, "We don't want to say, 'Here's the answer,' but to provide food for thought."

A visitor looks at the work of the Dutch artist group De Ploeg in the Wenzel Hablik Museum in Itzehoe.
Installation Views of Avant-Garde in the Netherlands. The expressionist artist group De Ploeg, at the Wenzel-Hablik Museum, Itzehoe. Copyright: Wenzel Hablik Museum, 2023

For the special exhibition "Avant-garde in the Netherlands. The expressionist artist group De Ploeg", the Wenzel-Hablik-Museum in Itzehoe therefore decided to develop an audio guide for the first time. However, a separate museum app would be too expensive. The team led by director Greta Kühnast independently recorded a tour in German, English and Danish and offers an easy introduction that is not only suitable for informed museum visitors, but also for a wide audience without any special prior knowledge.

In cooperation with the Groninger Museum and with four stops at the Städtische Galerie Bietigheim-Bissingen (in the south), the Wenzel-Hablik-Museum (in the north), the Kunstmuseum Erfurt (in the east) and the Kunstmuseum Ahlen (in the west), the work of the De Ploeg Group is being presented to a wider audience in Germany for the first time.

At the Wenzel-Hablik-Museum, the works enter into a dialog with the museum's own collection and raise fundamental questions. What does avant-garde mean? In what context does one speak of Expressionism? And what does an "old" Dutch group of artists have to do with the reality of our lives? In order to approach these aspects, the museum has selected 13 key works and developed an exciting tour.

Create your own audio tour with your smartphone

  • Concept, script, text were created collaboratively by Greta Kühnast (director), Janina Willems (deputy director) and Lucas Hagin (Audio-Cult).
  • The audio recordings are recorded directly with the smartphone, filtered in the Audio-Cult Creator and uploaded. All associated QR codes are generated automatically.
  • Audio mediation makes the exhibition more accessible and inclusive - for visitors on site and the virtual audience alike. 
  • Through the voices of the museum's own team, an authentic experience is possible - the people who contribute to the exhibition and otherwise offer tours, workshops, personally greet the audience.  

Providing barrier-free access through innovative audio guides

Visitors have responded extremely positively to the new mediation service: The public is enthusiastic and leaves very good feedback and ratings. The new format was presented by the museum via social media, its own website and at the press conference and was picked up in regional and national daily newspapers (including TAZ) and on North German Radio (NDR).

Newspaper clipping from the Norddeutsche Rundschau. The headline reads: First audio guide to exhibition in Itzeho's Hablik Museum.
The press reports about the audio guide in the Wenzel-Hablik-Museum. Here is an excerpt from 17.03.23, Norddeutsche Rundschau

We look forward to working with the Wenzel-Hablik-Museum and the Ahlen Art Museum to implement further exciting educational projects and provide access for a wide audience. Once again, we have shown that museums and exhibition platforms can develop their own simple and cost-effective professional guide, even with small teams.

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