Treasures from Vratsa Exhibition

The main goal of the project was to rethink an outdated museum space and present the treasures that are displayed there in an exciting, fun, and unforgettable way. In the hall are presented both unique world-class artifacts, such as the Gold Wreath and the Greave from the Mogilanska Mound, as well as masterfully crafted, yet everyday objects from the Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the National Revival. It was necessary that these various artifacts, different in function, make, and period, be bound together into one whole. The valuable pieces of jewellery had to be displayed in a protective environment and be illuminated in an adequate way, but also to be provided with the necessary information, without ruining the visitors’ experience and the immediate contact with the real objects.

The concept of the project is to create a complete scenographic experience through synergy between architecture, content, and design of the Treasures from Vratsa Exhibition. At the heart of the architectural approach is the idea that treasures live beyond time and space. The room is completely dark to make the visitor completely lose the sense of space. The main element is the so-called Horizon – the long illuminated display case in which the treasures are presented chronologically and thematically. The gradient change from light blue to red interprets the eternal flow of time. In two pillars in the middle of the exhibition space, the two most important and valuable artifacts – the Gold Wreath and the Greave from the Mogilanska Mound – are displayed. 

All artifacts are supported by bespoke mounts and appear as if they are levitating in the display cases. The main purpose of this manner of display is to emphasize the objects and their craftsmanship. All information about the artifacts from the Horizon is presented in a delicately lit console, where through texts, illustrations, movies, casts, tactile and interactive elements, the stories are told.

The display of the Wreath and the Greave follow the same logic. Attention is drawn to them and the information is placed on the backs of the pillars.

The exhibition design engages all the senses to enhance the overall experience. Entering the room, one feels the change in temperature. The ambient music, along with the whimsical mapping above the long display case, creates a fairy atmosphere in the room. Several illuminated resin casts of artifacts and specially made traditional pafti belt buckles allow everyone to feel with their fingers even the finest details. Last but not least is the specially designed installation, by which you can feel the scent of the gold laurel wreath – the humble bay leaf.

The Treasures from Vratsa Exhibition is designed to immerse the visitors in its atmosphere, while at the same time creating optimal conditions for safeguarding and presenting the treasures. The design engages visitors of all ages and interests, based on easy and intuitive ways of presenting information.

  • Authors:
    Donika Georgieva, Miroslav Velkov, Dessislava Kovacheva, Kristina Kirilova
  • Collaborators:
    Design team: Veljko Džikić (preventive conservation); Petya Penkova, PhD (artifact stabilization); Nikola Angelov, PhD (structural engineering); Miroslav Yamakov (electrical engineering); Kaloyan Kulev and Nikolay Delchev (climatization); Delyan Tsonev (technical appliances), Ivan Atanasov
    Project management: Atelier 3, Yuliana Decheva
    Restoration: Petya Penkova, PhD, Galina Tomova
    Scientific information and content: Georgi Ganetsovski, PhD, Aleksandra Petrova, Silvia Veselinova, Yoana Nankova, Ralitsa Tsvetkova
    Scientific consultants: Nartsis Torbov, PhD, Miglena Stamberova, PhD
    Editing and translation: Zornitsa Hristova, Sylvia Zareva
    Audio-visual installation: DigiPhysics: Veronika Tabakova, Yana Melamed
    Typography and illustrations: Krassen Krestev
    Films: Atelier 3, Cinematic 4, Georgi Vrabchev and Theatrical Group TEMP Vratsa
    Exhibition showcases and interactive elements: Meyvaert, Farco, Markovstudio, GraphLin, Atelier 3, Woood with B2N, Alexander Stefchev
    Construction: Modul RM
  • Year: 2021-2023
  • Client: America for Bulgaria Foundation, Vratsa Regional Historical Museum
  • Status: completed