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This Must Be Hell - Immersive Multimedia

Page history last edited by Leah Juster 12 years, 9 months ago

Project Title:  This Must Be Hell 

Museum/ Institution: Minnesota Historical Society - Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, MN

Media Category: Immersive 

Program Created:  Minnesota's Greatest Generation - Opened Spring 2009 

Program URL (if available):   http://www.mnhs.org/people/mngg/index.htm 


Project Image(s) and/or Video:


Media Source(s)/Credit(s): http://www.mediaandtechnology.org/muse-awards/past-winners/2010-2/multimedia-installations/



Program Description: (150-250 words)

The Minnesota Historical Society opened its "Minnesota's Greatest Generation" exhibition in May 2009. It takes visitors through the Depression, the War, and the Boom - the eras that defined the Greatest Generation. In the War section, the fuselage of a WWII-era C-47 provides the theater of an immersive multimedia installation: "This Must Be Hell."  This short experience places visitors on the bench of the C-47, where they hear firsthand accounts from paratroopers of the training, the fear, and the D-Day jump on Normandy. All the while, videos are projected onto the interior wall of the plane. Then, as D-Day arrives, the C-47's engine revs and visitors are taken on an unforgettable journey. The paratroopers sound their preparation calls as the light by the door turns green, even as bombs flash red outside the windows. Then explosions rock the theater and gunfire pierces the fuselage, and the sky outside the plane lurches as the aircraft begins its downward fall until it crashes with a deafening boom. Finally, visitors hear of those who died and those who survived, with the chilling and emotional proclamation, "This must be hell."



Firsthand or secondary review/critique: (150-250 words) 

I worked on the Greatest Generation project while interning at the Historical Society, so I heard a lot about this in pre-production. Nothing compares to experiencing it for the first time. Those familiar with other multimedia installations from MHS (such as the Mill City Flour Tower or the "Get to the Basement!" tornado show) will find this immersive theater just as compelling, if not more so. It is one thing to hear the voices of people who lived through it, but to experience it oneself is another thing all together. Seated on the bench of the plane, physically not moving, it felt as though I really was on an aircraft hurtling towards France, just because the clouds visible from the windows were moving rapidly to the left with faint explosions heard - and felt - in the distance. Once the action heats up, the sound is intense, really creating an immersive environment and completely enhanced experience. Yet at the heart of "This Must Be Hell" are the stories of the members of the Greatest Generation. The camaraderie of the troops, the elite training, and the stories of death and survival are incredibly moving.


"This Must Be Hell" was recognized by the 2010 MUSE Awards, winning Silver in the Multimedia Installations category behind the 4-D "Beyond All Boundaries" experience at the National World War II Museum.


Technologies incorporated:

Video projection, 16-channel sound system, visual effects 


Internally or externally produced: Internally 


Entry Contributor and Date: Leah Juster (01/29/11) 


Related projects:  Beyond All Boundaries (http://www.nationalww2museum.org/victory/b-a-b_backgrounder.html 

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