Stories of a Tower
In 2016, the Bell Tower of Vilnius Cathedral launched an interactive exhibition whose aim was to present the history of the tower through the stories of people who worked there or visited the tower at different times. At sound terminals installed on different floors of the Bell Tower, the visitors can listen to the stories (in Lithuanian and English) introducing the function and historical changes of various spaces of the building.
The sound recordings that the visitors hear on the earphones were prepared on the basis of historical research or authentic information received during interviews. Imaginary characters or characters having real prototypes talk about the different spaces of the tower and the historical periods that each of them best reflects: a guard of the tower of the Vilnius Lower Castle, an Italian architect who had an idea to convert the former defensive tower into a bell tower, the famous seventeenth-century bell founder Jan Delamars, a senior resident of Vilnius reminiscing about her childhood in interwar Vilnius, a photographer who captured views of Vilnius from the tower, a young archaeologist who participated in the excavations of the building in the 1960s, a tour guide who worked in a sightseeing tour agency later established in the tower, and a clockmaker who was in charge of the city’s oldest clock mechanism. While preparing the texts of the stories, the employees of the Church Heritage Museum met clockmaker Romualdas Sprangauskas, tour guide Aldona Mikulionienė, architect Napoleonas Kitkauskas, had a telephone conversation with photographer Antanas Sutkus, and the story of the senior resident of Vilnius was created referring to the memories and impressions of a visitor to the Bell Tower.
The texts of the stories were dubbed by professional Lithuanian and British actors. Sound recordings were produced in collaboration with the innovative technology company Aresi Labs. This company also implemented the second part of the project – they created an interactive virtual reality programme involving characters representing different historical periods, which introduce various spaces of the Bell Tower of Vilnius Cathedral. The programme allows the visitors to make a virtual trip to the entire space of the building – it is particularly important with regard to people having the fear of heights who are unable to reach the top floors of the tower. The arrangement of sound and virtual reality terminals in the space of the Bell Tower, and the design of the exhibition furniture was created by architect Ieva Cicėnaitė.
The implemented project “Stories of a Tower: Interactive Presentation of the History of the Bell Tower of Vilnius Cathedral” allows introducing the visitors to the rich history of this object of cultural heritage in a creative and interesting way, and promotes innovative means of communication in the museum’s exhibition. We invite all curious explorers to discover the rich and diverse past of the Bell Tower of Vilnius Cathedral through simple and warm human stories.
Project supported by: Vilnius Archdiocese, Lithuanian Council for Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius City Municipality