Katia Johansen
Royal Danish Collections


Costume is popular in museum exhibitions, but it requires a lot of preparation, careful handling, well-appointed space and special conditions. And it can’t even tolerate the light for very long! There are many good reasons to supplement traditional display with digital presentations. At the Royal Danish Collections, however, we have gone a step further, creating digital encounters unheard of in conventional exhibitions: turning the costume to see every detail and zooming in close enough to count threads and stitches.

Kongedragter.dk (Royal costume) is an interactive presentation of 16 garments worn by the 16 Danish monarchs from King Frederik II (died 1588) to the reigning Queen Margrethe II. These pieces are world famous because of their history, precise dates, exquisite materials and tailoring, and because the collection contains, unusually, almost exclusively men’s clothing from the early 1600’s to today.

Using 3D visualization, detailed descriptions and not least of all, games, this historic costume is brought as close to visitors as their own clothes. This ambitious project consists of many integrated layers, each targeting a specific segment, from children’s introductions to complex technical text for the museum professional. There are patterns for reconstructions or fancy dress as well as the cultural and political history in which each piece was made and worn. A series of delightful games exploits the dynamics between each king and his clothes. Collecting the games’ trophies and medals encourages young (and older!) visitors to explore the entire site, discovering a remarkable time-travel of costume history from the Renaissance to today.

As yet the site is only in Danish, but by clicking on icons for information and puzzle, one can still enjoy the patterns, the portraits, and games. By clicking on the magnifying glass below the costume, one can zoom in, and by dragging the cursor, one can rotate the costume at will. Choose any king by mousing over the portraits at the top right and clicking.

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