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The Compartment of Dreams

March 18 2017 - 29 2020

It is said that travelling changes people and that you are not the same person when you return. From the middle of the 1800s, the train changed travelling. By around 1900, the railways were introduced in so many countries and parts of the world that Danes could travel far away from Denmark and to foreign destinations by train.

The Compartment of Dreams is the Museum’s new special exhibition. It focuses on Danes’ train journeys to distant destinations and recounts two contrasting modes of travel in the history of train travel: young people’s chaotic Interrail journeys during the 1970s to the 1990s which were often akin to voyages of exploration are contrasted with the journeys undertaken by the well-to-do in the blue Wagons-Lits cars, usually referred to as luxury hotels on rails, which followed known routes to colourful destinations in the early 1900s.

DK web forside lille

The Compartment of Dreams is a poetic exhibition, revolving around dreams and memories rather than technology and timetables. We are working with lighting, sounds and smells instead of display boards and lots of facts. The exhibition is blacked out and controlled by lighting, giving visitors the impression that dawn is breaking. There are sounds and smells in the exhibition which support the account, and as is the case in the Museum’s other exhibitions, visitors are permitted on board the carriages. It is in this authentic environment that the dreams are awakened. Here, we encounter the dreams of previous passengers and here, exhibition visitors can entertain their own dreams of far-away destinations.

Tove Eriksen DK Toves scrapbog DK

Which mode of travel would you choose?

We have recreated a travel agency and Gare du Nord at the exhibition. A genuine Interrail carriage and an evocative Wagons-Lits sleeping car are central exhibits. When you enter the exhibition, you will see a travel agency. Here you choose your mode of travel: do you want to board the luxurious Wagons-Lits car to a planned destination or the tattered Interrail carriage taking a random course? Visitors decide on one or the other, get their tickets and board the carriage or car of their choice. In the compartments, we communicate the passengers’ dreams, experiences and memories. The final destination is Paris where visitors, irrespective of travel mode, arrive at Gare du Nord under a blanket of stars, ready for new adventures.

Kathrine Berthelsen DK Remi Carsten Lindby DK

The Compartment of Dreams opened on 18 March and will remain a permanent exhibition at the Museum for many years to come.