Museum projects focusing on the home, historical soundscapes and the black transition

VELUX FONDEN is awarding a total of DKK 14.3 million to three museum projects that rethink research and dissemination at the Danish museums.

What did the transition to fossil energy mean for life in 19th-century cities and what light can it shed on our modern life, consumption and the green transition? How do nomads around the world create a ‘home’ and how do we experience ‘a sense of belonging’? What soundscapes did our people of the past listen to and how can these soundscapes be recreated in museums’ historical buildings to support an authentic museum experience?

These are the main questions in the three projects that the board of VELUX FONDEN has chosen to award grants to under the foundation’s museum programme which supports cooperation between museums and universities.

Nine museums are involved in the projects

The projects involve nine diverse museums:

  • Moesgaard Museum
  • Museum Sønderjylland
  • Odense City Museums
  • Den Gamle By
  • The Danish Railway Museum
  • The Danish Museum of Energy
  • Struer Museum
  • Skanderborg Museum
  • Museum Midtjylland

Aarhus University, Aalborg University, DTU (Technical University of Denmark) and the University of Southern Denmark are also involved in the projects.

“The Danish museums provide a framework for experiences, enlightenment and reflection. Without research to drive them, museums would be centres of outdated knowledge, resulting in a weakening of the important democratic role they play as institutions of knowledge. Here, cooperation with the universities is a win for both parties, says Henrik Tronier, Head of Programme at VELUX FONDEN. 

The close link between research and dissemination is common to the three museum projects involving nine museums and four universities:

“Through research, the projects create original, new knowledge about past or unfamiliar worlds and ways of life. Through dissemination, these projects bring this new knowledge into dialogue with the present, offering a perspective on our lives and societies. Here, they broadly reach out to the general population and appeal to our senses, insights, experience and enlightenment,” stresses Henrik Tronier. 

This is the sixth time that VELUX FONDEN has allocated funds under the museum programme. Since 2015, more than DKK 100 million in grants have been awarded to a total of 22 different projects across Denmark. 

Behind the three projects
Odense City Museums and others

Odense City Museums in cooperation with Den Gamle By, The Danish Railway Museum, the Danish Museum of Energy and DTU, the University of Southern Denmark, Aarhus University and Aalborg University.

Curator Sissel Bjerrum Fossat

Grant: DKK 4.97 million

“Urban life and the black transition”

The consumption of fossil fuels and processes of change in urban everyday life

Since the mid-19th century urban life has been inextricably linked to the consumption of coal and oil. Steam locomotives began to run, and gas plants brought light to the streets. Later came power plants, district heating and transportation networks - the large urban systems. In the cities, everyday life became intertwined with the technical systems. The systems offered marvellous opportunities for the individual. Equally, ordinary people's habits and daily life determined how cities were organiszed. At that time, no one could know that the burning of coal and oil released an invisible gas, CO2. And that over time emissions would become a serious problem for Earth’'s climate.

While today we are striving for a green transition, the purpose of this research project is to complete a historical study of the black transition of urban life. How did it come to this? The project investigates the changes in everyday habits of city dwellers regarding housing, urban consumption and transportation. By telling the cultural history of the consumption of fossil fuels, the museums will help make visible our consumption in the present and with the aim of hereby aim to inspire visitors to conversation and contemplation amongst museum visitors.

The project brings together a multidisciplinary group of researchers who will combine the museum’s deep knowledge of the changes of everyday life, with the university historians'’ insight into how systems developed and the quantitative approach of science.

Moesgaard Museum and others

Moesgaard Museum in cooperation with Museum Sønderjylland and Aarhus University.

Curator Anders Emil Rasmussen

Grant: DKK 4.99 million

“Materialities of home among mobile groups”

What is ‘home’, and how is it materialized, when the sense of home and belonging is not associated with one geographical place?

Mobility and multiple belongings are ever-increasing in the contemporary world. This raises new questions for our understandings of practices and notions of home and belonging. Rethinking the tradition of studying nomadic groups at Moesgaard Museum, this project will study home and belonging through a focus on materiality and atmospheres among contemporary groups for whom mobility is permanent historical and economic and historical circumstances, and a source of collective identity. Field studies among seafarers in the Pacific; diasporas and pastoral nomads in Africa; and mobile minorities in southern Jutland, will contribute with new comparative insights and theory on the relationship between mobility, materiality, and belonging.

Methodologically, the project will challenge existing practices of museum collecting, by stressing audiovisual products such as 3D photography/VR, which will be systematically used as data and documentation. Likewise, such audio-visual products will form part of experimental exhibitions in the final stages of the project.

Struer Museum and others

Struer Museum in collaboration with Skanderborg Museum, Museum Midtjylland and Aarhus University.

Curator Jesper Bækgaard

Grant: DKK 4.37 million

“Soundscapes in authentic buildings”

 In this project we work with sound as intangible cultural heritage. The frame is the authentic buildings where museum visitors can experience the material cultural heritage of the past, more or less exactly as it was. But everything is not as it was,, for the past human being of the past was surrounded by the sounds of the past, which are no longer part of the authentic buildings.

 In the project, three museums of cultural history in collaboration with Aarhus University, will map the historical soundscapes of authentic buildings and then design and implement these soundscapes in the authentic buildings in a way that supports the guests'’ experience of authenticity.

 The project will develop systems for mapping complete historical soundscapes and develop principles for how these sounds and sound sources can be included in design processes aimed at designing sound communication.

About the application process

The foundation received a total of 30 expressions of interest for the museum programme’s open listing in 2019. Of these, 10 project proposals were invited to prepare and submit a full application. Some DKK 14.3 million has now been allocated to the three selected projects.

Henrik Tronier
Senior Adviser, Head of programme and Responsible for The Research Policy, VELUX FONDEN
+ 45 29 41 79 07