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Digital storytelling at the Hamburg Domplatz:

Archaeological Museum Hamburg launches ArchaeoScreen and ChatBot “HammaBot”

The Domplatz (“cathedral square”) in the heart of the Hanseatic city is used by many Hamburg citizens as a small oasis in the shadow of Mönckebergstraße. Few visitors to the square, however, are aware of its historical relevance. A new project by the Archaeological Museum Hamburg is going to change this now in a digital way.

As part of the “SmartSquare” project, the Archaeological Museum Hamburg, in cooperation with the HafenCity University, is testing out novel digital communication concepts there. With the help of “digital storytelling”, the Domplatz, the former location of the Hammaburg and for centuries the spiritual and cultural center of the city, shall be revived. Two innovative digital applications have been developed for this purpose.


History mediation with the “ArchaeoScreen”

So far, interested people could already visit the most spectacular branch of the Archaeological Museum directly opposite the Domplatz: the Bischofsturm (“bishop’s tower”), one of the most important monuments of Hamburg. There, in the shop window of this museum branch at the Speersort, you can see the “ArchaeoScreen”. As a “digital advertising pillar”, the ArchaeoScreen shows digital reconstructions of the Hammaburg from the 9th century and tells little stories about the found objects around the myth Hammaburg. In addition, one can find information about the latest news from the Archaeological Museum Hamburg.


Interaction with the “HammaBot”

With the free WhatsApp Guide “HammaBot”, a simple form of artificial intelligence, we offer a second innovation from the digital world. Thanks to the cooperation with helloguide, a Hamburg-based start-up, everybody who is interested can deepen their knowledge around the topic “Hamburg Domplatz” with the help of this application and enter into a dialogue with the experts. With just a few steps, the connection is made and off you go with short videos and pictures. In doing so, one can independently choose between different aspects: archaeology, urban history or urban development. If you want, you can also share your personal impression of the place, as picture or text, with the bot. For the use of the bot, only the number of the HammaBot (+49 157 92385856; privacy policy) must be stored in the phonebook of your own smartphone. The one-time dispatch of the given keyword “Moin” via WhatsApp starts the dialogue.

A lot of joint research hides behind the ArchaeoScreen and HammaBot: During three years, a joint cooperative project is being developed, consisting of the HafenCity University Hamburg, the Archaeological Museum Hamburg, the network of the digital economy Hamburg@Work and eCulture.info. The Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (“Federal Ministry of Education and Research”) supports the model project “SmartSquare”, which could be transferred to other cities in the future. The goal is to test a format that works as accessible as possible. The ArchaeoScreen serves as a digital yet physical anchor: It provides a first introduction to the subject, while the HammaBot is being tested as a new interaction format. True to the motto “bring your own device” the visitor is not addressed here with another app, but can fall back on an already used application. The planned public WLAN in Hamburg’s city center enables the interaction of users without burdening their data volume.

Both applications invite culture lovers and passers-by to go on a short journey through time and rediscover the Domplatz and its history.

The ArchaeoScreen is located in the shop window of the Bischofsturm in the Dat Backhus branch at Speersort 10, 20095 Hamburg.