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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

The Secret Annex Online


Anne Frank House


LBi Lost Boys


Innovative | Experimental


Anne Frank, The Secret Annex

Innovative and experimental

The Diary of Anne Frank and the Anne Frank House are world famous. Millions of people cannot visit the museum in Amsterdam, because they live too far away or are physically unable to. This is why the Anne Frank House has created a online 3D environment. It allows people around the world to discover the hiding place and hear stories that explain in greater depth what happened there.

The Secret Annex Online is a 3D version of the house at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam where Anne Frank lived in hiding during The Second World War. In this three-dimensional online environment, visitors can explore the front of the house and the secret annex as it was then, and hear stories that explain in greater depth what happened there. Hotspots in the rooms tell more about objects from the Anne Frank House, and the same information can be reached though the menus in the rooms. The museum in Amsterdam does not contain furniture or objects of daily use from the war years. After the inhabitants were arrested, the Secret Annex was cleared. Afterwards, Otto Frank, the sole survivor wished for it to remain empty. By contrast, the online version demonstrates how it was furnished during the war. Visitors to the site can see how the building was used in daily life. This is a unique way for people to have deeper understanding into the life of Anne Frank and the people in hiding, as well as the historical elements that lead to their demise.

Anne Frank, The Secret Annex reconstruction

Use of new techniques

We chose Adobe Flash because  we wanted to utilize something that would enable users worldwide to be able to view the 3D presentation easily and smoothly.  The utilization of  Adobe Flash enabled us to:

  • integrate our own 3D engine technology with Flash
  • reach most users throughout the world who have Adobe on their computers
  • And lastly, those who do not can easily download the plug-in.  

This new technique allows the visitor to see first the rooms of the hiding place empty, as they have been since the arrest of the people in hiding, and later furnished. Creating an authentic atmosphere of the wartime period in hiding.

A unique combination of technology and content now gives visitors to the website a vivid experience of the events during the years in which Anne Frank and the others lived in hiding.

Much use has been made of the wealth of material from the archives of the Anne Frank House and includes video and audio material.

Sharing Anne Frank quotes on Facebook
Anne Frank’s diary contains a host of wonderful quotes which are still very relevant today. To draw extra attention to the Secret Annex Online we called upon Facebook users to share Anne Frank’s words and spread the message. The Anne Frank Quotes application will publish quotes from Anne Frank’s diary to people’s Facebook walls. People’s friends can respond to the quotes, ‘like’ them or share them. The wall post invites people to visit the Secret Annex Online.

Facebook users publish over 4000 quotes each month, reaching a potential audience of around 150,000 people world wide. 40% of the quotes published is marked ‘like’, and 10% of the messages are replied. The number of people using the Anne Frank Quotes application is growing every day.

Anne Frank, The Secret Annex interactive floorplan

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