St. Dominic’s cellars in Gdansk – critically

And so it happened: after a long delay, the Romanesque Cellars of the St. Dominic’s monastery in Gdansk, were finally opened…

Yesterday, i.e.  last day of 2014, was announced in mass media, as a day of free admission. In reality it occurred to have been a day closed for public 😦

It was only for the employees of the Archaeological Museum or so… Both of us – Ewa and I, considering the fact of being guides, were admitted. Besides, there were no crowds at all, in fact there were only four of us waiting to enter. My problem was, that thinking there would be a great mob of visitors, I did not bring my big camera. Therefore I took photos with my cellphone. It means – the quality is bad, really bad.

And such are my impressions after visiting the place. Bad…

The idea of restoring and finally opening for public – Gdansk’s oldest interior was GREAT. The whole undertaking, the remaking of partially destroyed vaulted ceilings, the whole restoration and research – was a Titanic yet precise piece of work. And the ones who did it – deserve the highest respect.

But…. There always is a BUT in nearly every story 😦

Someone lacked brains and good taste in designing the lighting fitting. There is a saying that a bad frame can spoil a painting. A badly designed light can ruin the whole exhibition. And here we have such case.

HOW on earth could aggressive colors in such a small interior be accepted? Where was the taste both of the designers and of the principal, that they all accepted such shoddy shades of red, pink and blue?

Next – who on earth allowed the little M&M’s like bulbs in the junction of the walls with the floor? Maybe the designer had no idea, that such lights are perfect at the disco, but NOT within the old walls.

There is male voice telling the history and leading through the place. Although very sexy – the voice was only in Polish. I love my mother language, and I seem to know it pretty well 😉 but even I had some problems with following the pace of the story.

Why didn’t anybody think of audio-guides? Nobody noticed that there are also foreigners visiting Gdansk? Noone in the museum probably ever thought that not only Gdansk experts, like us, will be visiting the place, but also people who have NO IDEA where they are. For them the pace of narrative is too chaotic.

The point-lights, showing what is being explained are too short (not to mention agressive colors), and give no possibility to take a thorough look or photo.

Besides, the known educational principle is FROM GENERAL – TO SPECIFIC (DETAIL). The designer probably never attended lessons well… There is NO general; there are only irrelevant details, brought out by lights of dubious quality.

Such small interiors demand ONLY neutral light, no colors neither shades.

Well, it was to be so wonderful, yet appeared to have been done carelessly 😦 as usually.

Shame on the investor who employed such a badly qualified light designer! More – pity a great amount of money was wasted. Such an arrangement is a very expensive one. Yet has to be done by an experts.  Pity such was not the case here.

However with some improvements, the exhibition can become a pride of Gdansk, and its restorers.

Recommendation for modifications:

* get rid of the trashy lights,

* introduce neutral light instead

* arrange informational small charts in various languages;

* the short informational film should also be translated.

* introduce audio-guides in various languages

Most of all – the Archaeological Museum of Gdansk should go to Krakow, to the Rynek Underground Exhibition to learn how to make and prepare exhibitions! It is worth learning from the best 😉


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