Willy Brandt Haus audio cards

Part of Exhibition: Willy Brandt Haus museum



of an Exhibit

by Javier Pes

Published on May 22, 2009 , Modified on May 29, 2009

  • Description:

    Willy Brandt was the chancellor of West Germany, mayor of Berlin during the Berlin Airlift and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971.

    The German statesman’s eventful life and many achievements are chronicled in the Willy Brandt Haus, a biographical museum, which opened in December 2008 in his home town of Lubeck, North Germany.

    On their arrival, visitors receive a plastic card. It is a novel use of electronic technology. Embedded with a RFID tag, the card triggers the numerous soundtracks that are cleverly integrated into the displays.

    There are excerpts of speeches and interviews given made by Brandt, and news commentaries of momentous events in Germany’s history since 1945. On screens mounted into Bundestag-style lecturns, visitors can watch film of Brandt addressing the West German parliament during critical debates about which policy to adopt toward compatriots in East Germany.

    At the moment the audio cards provide visitors with two choices of language: German or English. This falls somewhat short of Brandt’s own linguistic skills. He was fluent in Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish French and English. Not bad for someone who got poor marks in school for languages.

    The champion of international cooperation and understanding, Brandt was ever the proud German, and astute politician. As he once said: “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.”

    (This first appeared in Museum Practice magazine, spring 2009, issue 45)

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