Invisible worlds

Making the invisible visible is an image that is often used in connection with exhibitions. This roadshow of the German Maritime Museum Bremerhaven (GMM) actually brings the invisible dangers of the military legacies of two world wars to light – from the depths of the North Sea

The task

Hundreds of military wrecks from two world wars and their dangerous cargoes now lie at the bottom of the North Sea. Ammunition leaking toxic substances poses a creeping threat. A roadshow is to show the work of an international research project of the littoral states to document and assess the sources of danger.

The idea

A compact exhibition architecture made of wooden boxes, half-sunk into the ground, with mysteriously illuminated windows on the underwater world. It is complemented by simple stelae, the roadshow transporter and a temporary floor graphic of contour lines individually applied with spray chalk.


Interested visitors get a 360-degree insight into the European research project. Five stations offer a medial, partly playful approach to the topic: visitors dive to the wreck themselves in a knowledge game, explore the remains and discover the dangers under water. Or they slip into the role of researchers and take sediment, water and scratch samples.

The media applications are operated by the visitors using contactless gesture recognition. Additional information steles offer them further results and insights on the topic of munitions and wrecks and the associated dangers for people, fish and the environment. More detailed information can be accessed via QR codes.

The design concept, which is based on historical ammunition boxes, enables simple language changes through DIN format-based magnetic papers. The set is constructed to be weatherproof and transport-friendly, and thanks to the rustic design, it can take on patina. The entire exhibition fits into the 3.5 tonne van and can be set up and dismantled by two staff members in a short time. The lifting platform is also a stage for presentations, discussions and lectures.

After the launch in Bremerhaven, the mobile show will tour Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium until September 2022. Stops are planned at events that focus on marine research and marine conservation.

  • Client: German Maritime Museum Bremerhaven
  • Location: Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium
  • Services: Concept, planning, construction, design and implementation
  • Area: 50 sqm
  • Photos: simple GmbH, DSM Bremerhaven
  • Film: Stefanie Gartmann DOP