April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

MORITZ: A European Mobile Media Project For Historical Textile Industry Museums

Christoph Klütsch, Martin Koplin and Helmut Eirund, University of Applied Sciences Bremen, Germany


The aim of MORITZ (Mobile Tours in European Textile-Industry Centers) is to develop a concept for tours using mobile devices at industrial heritage sites and museums in Europe. To extend each museum’s exhibitions into the various industrial sites and their environments, we’re developing PDA applications which allow visitors to explore each historical site more thoroughly, interact with monuments of industrial heritage and receive multimedia content directly at the site. The innovation lies in the development of both conceptual and technical approaches that are transferable to different sites within the existing European network of textile industry sites along the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH).

An outdoor mobile tour has to weigh the relation between the points of information and the time needed to walk the tour. To be of maximum benefit to the visitor, the information has to be concentrated and bundled. Multiple aspects have to be addressed, focused under a theme of the tour, and related to other places and times. The visitors and each of the museum’s media attain mobility and allow for immediate and intuitive encounter with locations of industrial culture. By crossing barriers of space and time, the mobile medium delivers insights into the past of industrial sites – using historical views of the settings, images of people who have worked in these settings, and explanations and reports referring to contemporary witnesses to characterize commonality with other places.

Keywords: participation, digital mobile museum tour, transferable methods, PDA, European Textile Industry, Industrial cultural heritage


The aim of MORITZ is to develop a concept for tours at industrial heritage sites in Europe. To extend the museum exhibitions into industrial sites, we are developing PDA applications which allow visitors to explore historical sites, interact with monuments of industrial heritage and receive multimedia content directly at the site.

In 2006, the ‘Culture 2000’ program sponsored by the European Union approved our project MORITZ (Mobile Tour in European Textile Industry Centers). The project is based on collaboration between textile industry museums and universities across Europe. Thus far, there are five museums participating as active and passive partners, including Nordwolle in Delmenhorst (Germany), the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz (Poland), the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga (Latvia), the Textile Museum in Bocholt (Germany), and The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (England), with three counterpart universities: the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany, the University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, and the Technical University, Riga, Latvia.

Within this environment we have a unique opportunity to explore the possibilities of mobile tours as part of international museum networks. As our guides and inspiration on this journey, two larger networks have to be mentioned. The European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), with nearly 60 anchor points in cities and towns spanning across Europe, from Germany over the Benelux to England, covers multiple aspects of European industrialization ( The European Textile Network operates “a database, containing circa 4,500 address details from about 80 countries and some 1,000 annual event previews, that has been created in co-operation with the ETN Association and Textile Forum Service (tfs).” ( Also, while we are developing ‘only’ three tours in Germany, Poland and Latvia, the concept is to produce a solution that is highly adaptable to other institutions in the cultural heritage sector. The innovation lies in the development of a conceptual and technical approach that is transferable to different sites within an existing European network of textile industry. MORITZ (Mobile Tour in European Textile Industry Centers) is a project of mobile2culture within the ZIMT center at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen, Germany ( ).

What Are The Similarities And Characteristics of the Sites?

Developing a mobile tour application for multiple institutions means that you have to determine the similarities and characteristics of each cultural heritage site. This process begins with the organization of the cultural heritage sites themselves. The site in Delmenhorst, Germany, is a small town with an impressive industrial heritage, the Nordwolle. The Lahusen family commissioned architect Henrich Deetjen to build the factory in 1884, but the company already had a 70-year-old tradition in trade. Today, the site has been transformed into a multifunctional, mixed-use environment with two museums (one for the factory and one for the town itself), and an existing tour with signs throughout the factory area. The factory area is a “town within a town. This means that we have a special situation of logistical integration: the site of industrial culture is connected to a thriving city.

The Museum of Decorative Applied Arts in Riga, Latvia, is located in a 13th century church; it also holds a textile triennial. As a town known for its big harbor and small textile crafts, the museum focuses on textile art from Latvia. The cultural heritage is not so much industrial, as it is focused on Latvia’s rich textile traditions. Riga itself is a tourist attraction of international dimensions.

The businessman Ludwik Geyer had the “White Factory” built in Lodz from 1835-1838, from English plans. The factory was the first mechanical textile mill in Lodz, and later, also had the town’s first chimney as well. While Lodz began as a small town, it grew very quickly in the first half of the 19th century. Today, it carries the title of the “Manchester of Eastern Europe”. Until the collapse of the iron curtain, Lodz was a center for the textile industry, and it is now going through dramatic changes. Other textile mills surround the “White Factory”, and Lodz itself can be seen as a site of cultural heritage. With funds from both the European Union and the town itself, the “White Factory” is presently building an extension for its textile art collection and is in the process of relocating heritage buildings, six wooden workers houses, a church and a representative house, to the grounds of the factory. The museum has also held a textile triennial for over 20 years.

The overall area we are working in is industrial heritage: the textile industry in the 19th century. As each museum is unique, only common aspects can intersect. In our case, what the museums have in common is that they display textile design, craftsmanship and historical objects. They are divided into indoor and out-door sections. They combine aspects of industrialization and art. They also share dimensions of European history in areas of worker migrations and the social living conditions of the workers at the beginning of European industrialization. Lastly, the factories are examples of early industrial architecture. Thus, we can connect three very different cultural heritage locations with a common focus on textile production – a perfect opportunity to develop a highly transferable tour concept.

Why Mobile Media?

To extend the museum exhibitions into the industrial sites, we need PDA applications  that allow  visitors to explore historical sites, interact with monuments of industrial heritage, and receive multimedia content directly at the site.

The software we use is called TURI. It is an easy to use, Java-based, platform independent authoring tool used within the EU project IMKA (Innovative Maßnahmen Kultur der Arbeit, a project headed by the chief of our research group, Prof. Eirund), with the aim of providing a toolbox to make tourist information accessible on-sites of industrial culture, in order to frame the specifics of a product-identity of European wide industrial tourism.

The objectives of ERIH are to raise awareness about the “identity and knowledge for the conservation and protection of industrial heritage sites”, “to emphasize trans-national aspects of the European Industrial Heritage” and to establish and expand a European network ( The PDA tour aims to pool content-oriented and event-oriented strategies and convey industrial cultural heritage. Fun and enjoyment are as important for learning as the impact of deeper, historical contexts.

By crossing the barriers of time and space, the mobile medium delivers insights into the past of industrial sights – using historical views of the industrial settings, images of people who have worked in these settings, and accompanying explanations and reports referring to contemporary witnesses and characterizing the commonality with other places.

With interactive graphics you can open doors, look through walls, animate old machines or time lapses. In Delmenhorst one feature divides a water tower, explaining the three tanks with their different water qualities, environmental conservation and cost cutting; this is an autonomous water system in an industrial area over 100 years old.

Screenshot from the PDA ApplicationScreenshot from the PDA Application

Screenshot from the PDA ApplicationScreenshot from the PDA Application

Screenshot from the PDA ApplicationScreenshot from the PDA Application

Screenshot from the PDA Application

Fig 1: Screenshots from the PDA application (Design by Daniela Ratt and Janine Dubslaff)

From a pedagogical point of view, the visitor is able to interact not only with the graphic, but also with the building on-site. The first interaction takes place when visitors arrive at the place of interest; only there can they activate the PDA content via a code which they have to enter. The code is placed on a sign next to the point of interest. If the object is in an urban environment one has to consider where to put the sign, avoiding problems with authority, but also providing information about the museum and the production company. Since they are on-site, visitors can be given tasks like investigating the building (counting architectural elements, finding views of the building on the next site, finding information on the back side, etc.). At the next level of interaction,  visitors receive information going back in time and in relation to other places. Finally, the building can be virtually destructed or unfolded to explain its former function.

Fig 2: PDA in useFig 2: PDA in use

Fig 2: PDA in use

The experience is framed by an authentic setting that creates a unique situation. The dissemination of the museum information at the current site of industrial heritage through a mobile device is a key factor in our approach. We know from other projects (e.g. Eirund; Schreiber 1998) that visitors like to search and retrieve multimedia information. If all members of a small group have the opportunity to search for 'hidden' aspects, like doors, shortcuts, signs etc., the typical stereotypes of group behaviours are rejected and a communicative situation with flat hierarchies is created. For instance, if children and parents look for the same things, the difference in knowledge is not significant any more. This motivates each participant in the tour (and the search) and builds up a dramaturgical tension.

An outdoor mobile tour has to weigh the relation between the points of information and the time needed to walk the tour. To be of maximum benefit to the visitor, the information has to be concentrated and bundled (Najjar 1996). Multiple aspects have to be addressed, focused under a theme of the tour, related to other places and times. Our approach in the production of the on-site mobile tours is to see it from the visitors’ perspective. The central questions are:

Our tour is based on  the following assumptions:

From these basic assumptions, you get a feeling of how much information you can place on a handheld device. The overall tour should follow a clear dramaturgy. It is important to avoid empty phases. The visitors should have the chance to choose what they want to see, but also should be guided through the area and the content of the PDA; they  are probably on their first and last time at the museum, and don't want to learn unnecessary information like how to navigate the PDA or memorize a complex map. Instead, the PDA should guide intuitively and seamlessly through the areas, offering different levels of informational depth. The PDA should offer background information, entertainment, participatory content, graphical explanations, facts, and contemporary usage and/or historical developments.

Our Development Process

Thus, the production of a multimedia storyline asks for a high level of conceptual work, coordination of different sites, and awareness of technical constraints. At the same time, the storyline has to be open to new information, and able to cross-reference time, space and geographical connections. As the project focuses on industrial heritage, the central aspect should be the workers, their working conditions, immigration backgrounds, and the social dimension. Originally, exhibitions had to focus on objects that are contextualized by text displays. A mobile PDA application can use the latest developments in multimedia, and demand a new museum pedagogical approach. The concept turns from displaying information to requiring active exploration by the visitor, supported by powerful media tools and linked to the knowledge of distant sites.

For the conception of a storyline, it is necessary to start with a synopsis recording all relevant information to get an overview of the tour. Most likely you will realize that you already have too much in mind. Our format is shown in Table 1.


Point of

Point of

Point of interest




Interactive / graphical information




Spoken text


Distance from next point of interest


Relation to main thematic structure


Entertainment / games /
Activities, like direct object manipulation, e.g. moving a torch to unclose virtual objects hidden on the screen.


Table 1: Overview of the content of a tour

The next step is to adapt the synopsis to the technical restraints and the concept of the navigation on the PDA. First, it is important to decide how to solve the problem of geographical tracking. A good overview of the wireless solution within museum contexts is available in Proctor 2005 and Colazzo et al 2005. After close investigation of the technical options of wireless networks, we decided to go back to a very traditional but secure technique: entering a code that the visitor has to locate at the point of interest. If you need to locate the position of a visitor in a large outdoor area, this is the only reliable option today: GPRS has shadows of buildings; infrared depends on the direction the visitor points the PDA; Bluetooth has a range of only about 10 meters; all require the presence of a network in an urban environment. Hopefully, we can use a true network technique in our next project. As of yet, we don't have a solution for offering database information onsite. The compromise is to upload information to the PDA before the tours starts. We don’t’ ask either the visitor or the developer for detailed technical knowledge. We decided to develop an easy, transferable method of content presentation. Our software TURI was designed to enable multimedia specialists to develop a tour without having to write a single line of code. It all depends on the synopsis which has to be filled in by museum content specialists. Thus, we have a tool that is extremely flexible, highly adaptable, easy to use for everybody.


Digitization allows for the exchange of content and digitized exhibits between institutions. The opportunity for exchange and transmission of content to other exhibitions expands the range of use. Visitors to the museum are provided with an opportunity to supplement and comment. Our ambition is to develop the competence of all participants in the project and to encourage them to anticipate future technological developments in their cultural thinking. They will develop the knowledge and ability to set up a transmittable and fully compatible European mobile platform for media, that can be applied in museums and sites of industrial culture.

Steps to Realization

We took the following steps during the realization of our project:

  1. During the phase of research, the first media concept was established in close cooperation between developers of media and museum historians. This concept was generated to associate the required data with presentation decisions and to test common cultural and didactic principles in free exchanges at an early stage.
  2. The outcome of the first workshop was a common prototypical concept. Considering the need for mobility  and the cultural-historical aspects, and also the local circumstances of the Nordwolle museum, palm-sized computers whose touch screens and audio capabilities serve as surfaces of presentation and interaction were selected.
  3. A thorough examination of on-site usage, as well as consultation and idea exchange among all project participants regarding the transferrability of the concept and all aspects of industrial culture, directsed preparations for two further prototypes in Lodz and Riga. The results evolved into a development process using the shared communication platform.
  4. Then the prototypes were discussed by all participants before being returned to the individual partner organizations. In the second workshop the concepts of media, scripts,  components selection and  navigation were specified for implementation by the partners.
  5. The last step was detailed preparation of the script, digitization, and implementation of the tour on PDAs at all three locations.
  6. At the end of the project, a final workshop-style meeting of the project participants focused on further development of shared views of industrial history. A joint publication for European institutions of industrial heritage is founded.


The mobile tour developed in our project, using the same transferable method for all three cities, extends museum exhibitions through a medium that allows visitors to experience three combined aspects – manufacturing processes, work, and production – in original settings. These industrial sites are characterized by huge spaces and wide distances. The outreach of the museums is extended to these sites: mobile visitors with mobile museum media can have immediate intuitive encounters with industrial locations. The mobile tour delivers insights to the past on-site – through historical views of the settings, images and movies of people who have worked at these settings, accompanying explanations and reports mainly from contemporary witnesses, and by characterizing commonality with other places.

Future Research

MORITZ also includes aspects of participation as it is needed in the preparation of the following project MaX "Museums at Xess". MaX combines the main aims of MORITZ with the idea to support the development of an European citizenry, by enhancing participation in cultural knowledge processes.

The common cultural inheritance of the Europeans is the probably the most important basis for developing a European citizenry. A substantial Europeanizing of the respective national histories in terms of redeveloping the common European and in some cases global, point of view of early industrialization perhaps would not just be too expensive but also could be politically used, for developing resentment against Europe and a European identity by those wiseacres that argue with a similarity to a "colonization".

In addition to multinational companies,, the ever increasing hold of globalization also detracts from local structures and exerts influence on the emergence of individual identity. Accepting the common inheritance can turn this crucial process to the positive. In 10-15 years a European dimension will stand in the foreground, also for local history (glocal), as far as this will be realized over the exchange of the population of Europe with the experts and participants in the cultural institutions. Social and cultural history such as: migrations, social stories and worker histories, as well as textile art, industry design and design history will be effected by the ‘knowledge society’. To facilitate this process today is the goal of our project MaX.

MaX is a project to enable citizens of the European Union to participate in cultural dimensions in the field of early textile industry and cultural heritage. It focus in its realization mainly on the promotion and generation of different ITC-based and non-ITC-based participation methods at the different places of the early textile industry culture. Aspects of transferability, evaluation, user observation, and user contributions will play a decisive role in the project.

It starts with a competition of ideas and concepts of participation that will go along with the exchange of the ideas and the establishment of the best method at all places.

The promotion and generation of knowledge and education processes of developing a European point of view on history and the participation of population in Europe also needs a method of common knowledge evaluation.

Exchange for European history experts, medialization of the museums and exchange of the museums with the population as well as the communication between different populations will be affiliated in the context of participation.

As visible output, there will be an installation of a "European corner" in the museums which presents forms and results of local and international interactions (e.g. web2.0), using trend-setting digital skills and cultural techniques.

Visitor participation bases on the experience, that people today enjoy more to take active part in the information processes that surround them, then to consume only passively. The visitors need the chance to get involved, if the museum wants their engagement. The information transfer can get more into a common activity between offerers and users in active communities. The active communities generate information together, improve, supplement and correct them. Culture consumers become co-designers and will better understand and identify themselves with the idea behind it, which is a core goal of MaX.


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Cite as:

Klütsch, C., et al., MORITZ: A European Mobile Media Project For Historical Textile Industry Museums, in J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds.). Museums and the Web 2007: Proceedings, Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, published March 1, 2007 Consulted

Editorial Note