The exhibition “Soziologie in Frankfurt: 1910–2010” offers the public insight into the history of sociology in Frankfurt.
The exhibition was part of the 35th anniversary of the Congress of Sociology (11-15. October 2010) hosted for the first time in Frankfurt in 1910. The interesting part of the development of this exhibit was creating a very fast and playful way to explore a huge archive of scanned documents, letters, and photographs, to give a behind-the-scenes look at the forces at play in the history of sociology in Frankfurt. With over 1,200 documents (most of them shown for the first time to the public) visitors could follow the path of sociology’s history in Frankfurt from its beginnings around 1910.
The key elements of the design of the exhibits are readability, accessibility, and skimming speed. We installed a high-resolution monitor and a shuttle-wheel which enabled very fast and simple scrolling through all documents. No other navigation is necessary. Imagine a 1,200 page PDF or a multi-volume printed tome in an exhibition; we succeeded in making the exhibit much more faster and accessible to skim through than a real book (let alone a PDF).
Of course, a digital display system like this allows many more features for searching, accessing etc. Given the tight budget, only very little additional data visualization was implemented; a vertical timeline on the left side shows a timeline from 1910 to 2010 with a curved line connecting the documents to their date of creation.