The new Prinsenhof Museum - an interactive experience

Maritime Museum Amsterdam

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Maritime Museum Amsterdam

To tell the story of William of Orange and the history and development of the city of Delft as impressively and spectacularly as possible, the Prinsenhof Museum in Delft underwent a major renovation project and asked MCW to create a fascinating interactive experience.


The Prinsenhof in Delft is where William of Orange, the Father of the Netherlands, was shot dead on 10 July 1584 by the Catholic fanatic Balthasar Gerards. To this very day, the hole in the stairhead wall serves as a reminder of this political assassination. To give the museum a desperately needed makeover, it was decided to conduct a major renovation project and add a new and innovative dimension.

The assignment

To develop innovative and interesting audio-visual elements and interactive exhibits that combine with the existing collection to help bring to life the story of William of Orange and the city of Delft.

Our approach

The design of the new-look Prinsenhof Museum was based on three themes: William of Orange, Delft Blue and the genius of Delft, in which special focus is given to the inventions and discoveries made in the city. All AV and interactive elements in the revamped museum were developed and realised by MCW in close collaboration with XPEX (design), Heijmerink Wagemakers (construction) and Mansveld (hardware).

Experience and history
The main challenge we faced was that the AV and interactive elements had to enhance the overall experience of the museum but remain true to the history of both the location and the collection. Based on this precondition and XPEX's basic design, we began to design and create an enthralling multimedia experience.

The results

Model city
For the new-look museum, we commissioned an artist to create a meticulously detailed model of the city of Delft. Beside this model city are sightseeing binoculars that highlight a variety of chapters of Delft’s history. For these exhibits, we created seven short animated films that are shown via iPods built into the sightseeing binoculars. The result of this is a spellbinding illusion that takes viewers on a journey into the past.

Talking portraits
Another interesting way in which we brought history to life is with six talking portraits. These allow visitors to meet and chat with the Royal Supplier of Delft Blue, a jealous potter, the young and heavily pregnant Anne Van Saksen and a nervous cook. For these portraits, we wrote the scripts, cast the actors and produced the films ourselves.

More interactive exhibits
In addition, we also developed a huge animation projected onto three large panels (3m tall, 1m wide). This gives an enthralling account of the Dutch Revolt. We also developed a special Kinect game and five interactive exhibits on large touchscreens and/or iPads. All of this greatly boosted the unique interactive nature of the Prinsenhof.

The assassination of William of Orange
Naturally, the Prinsenhof's main attraction will always be the place where William of Orange was shot dead. To enhance the experience, we created a unique silhouette projection that shows visitors what happened on that fateful day. You’d swear you were there in person!

Great success
On 16 and 17 May 2014, in collaboration with Mansveld, we installed all of these exhibits (around 25 in total), leaving us one week for fine-tuning. The revamped Prinsenhof Museum was officially opened by King Willem-Alexander on 23 May 2014. The enthusiasm shown after the opening was enormous. The diverse range of interactive elements were received with overwhelming positivity, and the museum is now fully up to date!