The Fleet Slumbers in the Harbour. 14/18 – Descriptions of Everyday War in Sailors’ Diaries

Foundation of the German Naval Museum Wilhelmshaven and the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundesweher Dresden
May – October 2014
500 sqm

Design and production of the special exhibition (all HOAI phases, s.a.).
Exhibition design, graphics and light, design and media production, technical planning, print materials, production management, cost controlling, expenditure report

IGLHAUT + von GROTE Ausstellungsgestaltung und Design / The Fleet Slumbers in the Harbour. 14/18 – Descriptions of Everyday War in Sailors’ Diaries
Project text:

The German Naval Museum is marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War by mounting the temporary exhibition “The Fleet Falls Asleep in the Port. Sailors’ Diaries of Everyday Life in Wartime, 14/18”. The German high seas fleet was supposed to lead the German Empire to glory. But even after the outbreak of hostilities the fleet lay inactive at dock, which diminished its prestige. It is to this particular aspect of the First World War that IGLHAUT + von GROTE has dedicated the temporary exhibition.

Quotes from diaries kept by two sailors, Carl Richard Linke and Richard Stumpf, tell of life on board a modern warship as well as the events of the First World War, which would go down in history as the original catastrophe of the 20th century. In terms of scenography, the exhibition imagines the SMS HELGOLAND anew, fitting it with historical objects and recorded extracts from the diaries.

Embedded in the broad historical framework of events in global history which surround the room in the form of a running graphic band, the diary entries bring home the realities of war at a highly personal, human level. Integrated into the exhibition concept is a collaboration with the theatre company Landesbühne Nord. Actors perform in the roles of Linke and Stumpf, guiding visitors through the exhibition. The diaries were digitalised in high definition and are made available through touch screens with expanded functionality for browsing.

The temporary exhibition is being mounted in cooperation with the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr (Military History Museum of the German Armed Forces) in Dresden (2015).