Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America.


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 – all good reasons to supplement traditional display with digital presentations. At the Royal Danish Collections, however, we have gone further, creating 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, fancy dress for
Halloween, 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 encourages young (and older!) visitors to explore the entire site, discovering a remarkable time-travel of costume history from the Renaissance to today.