With the addition of VR, the rooms transform. The painstaking attention to detail, including the everyday mundane minutiae brings the rooms to life: cutlery laid out for a meal, personal items on a bedside table, even the dust dancing in the light. As Leopold says, “all of a sudden, the space starts to tell the story. I think virtual reality is a time machine.”
And the power of the VR experience is not just visual. For the sound design, the creators’ detail was just as meticulous, from recording an actual tram from that era to capturing the sound of church bells from the attic, a space where Anne found privacy and safety, if only for moments at a time. It’s an experience “made with the senses,” one that turns Anne from a historical icon to a young girl, hidden away, unable to leave and terrified of making a noise that could lead to discovery.
All of this creates a rich, immersive experience that allows virtual visitors to explore the house in detail, at their own pace. In VR they can even visit the attic, a space unavailable to the 1.3 million people who visit the Anne Frank House every year.
In her diary, Anne Frank wrote, “I want to be useful … to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death.” With her writing, the museum, and this virtual experience, that seems more certain than ever. As one visitor says, “it feels like I’ve stepped into her life.”
©ANNE FRANK FONDS Basel, Switzerland