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Vejle Kunstmuseum – architecture and technology

I just visited the newly reopened Vejle Kunstmuseum (Vejle Museum of Art), and it was a very nice experience. The museum has been modernised and has had a new wing added. The new wing has been designed by the Utzon architects, and the way the entrance has been wedged between the old building and the new wing with an open spacious and very light colonnade is very successful, it extends the perspective towards infinity, now I’m dreaming of a “historic Vejle axis” flanked by trees on both sides, that would extend towards the beautiful Ådal. Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen, because the view soon will be blocked, I hope only partially, by a new housing complex.

Notable items from the collection includes one of the largest compilations of Rembrant sketches and a large collage style painting with faces of famous, and not so famous, Danes, you can really spend a lot of time just looking at this picture trying to identify the people.

Digital "guides" from Vejle KunstmuseumMore surprisingly, the museum is making good use of new technology by providing the visitors with the possibility to take a guided tour using a type of portable digital player, that resembles an iPod shuffle. The device is called PICKUP and it is produced by the Swedish Company dataton. The PICKUP device is extremely rugged, I suspect that it’s quite expensive.

This is how it works. Some of the exhibited items has a small infrared receiver “eye”, called a hotspot or transponder, located next to them, if you point the player towards one of the electronic eyes, and press play, it will load a spoken interview where the item is being discussed. Very clever indeed, I didn’t discover the devices until I was about to exit the museum, since admission currently, and for the remainder of 2006, is free, so I went back and revisited the exhibits walking away from the item being discussed, listing to the discussion “in transit”. I expect this to become a mainstream feature in museums, and as music players evolve I expect that the information will be streamed over Bluetooth to your iPod.

Being a geek I’ve spend too much time discussing the technology, the museum is it self worthwhile paying a visit, the number of artworks owned by the museum is limited, but the selection and quality of the art is quite high. Recommended, if you’re going to LEGOLAND consider making a pit-stop at the Vejle Kunstmuseum, as I mentioned admission is free for the duration of 2006, so you can’t use that you can’t afford it as an excuse.

Highly recommended. And great to be able to tag a museum review with technology, I think that it’s deserved. Now why didn’t I come up with this idea (well actually I did – last year – remember that I’m from the future ;-))

Related links
Vejle Kunstmuseum
dataton PICKUP fact sheet (1.6 MB PDF)

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