Kirchner Museum Davos: Art Museum

5-star rating
Art, Free, Museums
Comfortable, Roomscale, Stationary

The Kirchner Museum in Davos welcomes viewers to explore four different exhibitions from the comfort of your home, all for free, and all in the best virtual reality museum experience we've seen to date. All that's missing is the gift shop!

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a prolific expressionist painter and sculptor who focused not only on themes such as portraits, figures, nudes and circus scenes but became well known for his landscapes also. Kirchner spent his last two decades in Davos, Switzerland after moving there from his native Germany. The Kirchner Museum holds a collection of more than 1,500 pieces of art by the famed expressionist, and also showcases additional exhibitions by other artists.

Putting on your headset and launching the Meta Quest app reveals an undressed museum with bare walls everywhere. Find the menu however, and you become a time traveler in a way that would be impossible for a regular visitor of this museum. Choose from four different exhibitions and the walls and exhibit spaces are now filled with art, with each exhibition being a period frozen in time. Even changes in weather are apparent through the museum's large windows, lighting configurations adjust and the building's ambient sounds change.

Museumception: Teleport into a model of the museum from inside the museum!

Navigation controls are simple and effective, utilizing a teleportation mechanism and snap-turning for movement. Point at a piece of art, and a panel anchored to your off-hand provides interpretative content. The sense of place is very strong in this experience, and it's great to walk around at your own pace. A vaguely ominous musical piece plays quietly in the background on a short loop and we wished there was a way to turn this off.

Reproduction of the artworks is generally good, though some are presented in higher resolution than others. We could admire individual brushstrokes of one painting, only to move to the next and find it slightly fuzzy. The 3D modeling of the sculptures was also good, though we suspect there was detail in these figures that weren't visible to appreciate. We checked to see if there was any high resolution imagery accessible to us on the Internet that contained better quality, but those we found were of similar detail. Visiting these works in person is always going to be the best experience, but by our judgment this Meta Quest app is still the next best thing.

Simple, effective controls. Easy to read interpretative panels.

We were most surprised by the content of the fourth exhibition that showcased the architecture of the museum building itself. Not only does the museum feature scale models of itself, but the app allows you to teleport INTO the models while remaining in the exhibit room. This exhibition also includes video segments about the building and the architect's other works, complete with playback controls.

Developed by Hegias, the Kirchner Museum Davos is a blueprint for virtual museums that we hope other institutions will follow, especially as virtual reality technology continues to improve in leaps and bounds. Previously unknown to us, this VR experience has made us more likely to visit the Kirchner Museum if we're ever in the area, and we enjoyed exploring its spaces as we learned about Kirchner and his artwork for the first time.

Includes exhibits of work by other artists.

✅ Sense of space is very strong
✅ Explore multiple different exhibitions
✅ Good reproduction of artwork
✅ Teleport into some of the exhibits
❌ Resolution of some artwork could be better

• Wikipedia: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
• Languages: English, German
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