The Story of & Interactive Exhibition

The Story of & Interactive Exhibition

With the interactive exhibition, the America for Bulgaria Foundation celebrates its 15th anniversary and the successes of the organizations and projects supported by the Foundation over the years. 

This story is about the conjunction “and” (&) – a story about people and organizations working and succeeding together.

With the interactive exhibition, we set ourselves the goal of immersing the audience in a sensory experience – an interpretation of life, where dreams meet reality. The main challenge was to tell the story of 1217 realized projects and dreams come true in a 30-minute performance in two halls on the ground floor of the National Palace of Culture.

Our role was leading both in creating the concept of the visitor experience and in materializing the story in the space using the objects and installations as storytellers. The sensory journey includes walking on real grass, meeting the avatars of cеlebrities and heroes, intertwining the present and the possible bright future with the help of fantastic illustrations, playing with lights and shadows and many more unexpected situations.

Treasures from Vratsa Exhibition

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The main goal of the project was to rethink an outdated museum space and present the treasures that are displayed there in an exciting, fun, and unforgettable way.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.

Ada Tepe Exhibition

Ada Tepe Exhibition

Ada Tepe is the mountain peak where the oldest known gold mine in Europe has been found and studied. Now gold is being mined again and all traces from the Bronze-Age mining technology will disappear. The main challenge of the project is to reveal the “absent” heritage of ancient gold mining.

Ada Tepe Exhibition is located in a disused room of a local community centre. The exhibition covers several topics: gold mining in the Bronze Age and now, the life at the mine, the peak, the excavations, the gold, the nature, and the future of the mine. Their manifestations in terms of spatial and architectural appearance interweave to stimulate all senses.

The main featuring element is the inclined plane of the “mountain slope”. It divides the exhibition room in two but simultaneously connects the topics – physically and meaningfully. The aboveground space is dark, mysterious and unknown. Here are the stories and facts from the past (mining, life, topography) compared to similar contemporary activities. A massive trench leads to the underground space – just like the way ancient miners and today’s archaeologists “entered” the mountainside. All is bright and golden here as a reference to the underground treasures but also to the enlightening role of science for unveiling the distant past.

The exhibition encourages people to roam around the space, to climb the “mountain slope”, to venture underground, to touch, hear, feel, and experience this important yet unconventional heritage of the region.