The Vogelfinder - An immersive sound-based journey through the Vogelsaal

client: Museum für Naturkunde


An augmented reality aviary

The historic Vogelsaal (Bird Hall) of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is host to one of the most important ornithological collections in the world, and the largest of its kind in Germany. Typically reserved for researchers and scientists, the Vogelsaal opened its doors to the public for 15 exclusive guided tours - designed by NEEEU in collaboration with the Mediasphere for Nature - the multimedia application laboratory at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

The challenge

Today’s museum visitor expects to learn and have fun at the same time. What role can emerging technologies play in providing this experience for Vogelsaal visitors?

Bringing the birds back to life

A sound-based AR application that guides visitors around the sites of these majestic birds. An immersive and educational storytelling experience which chirps, whistles and cawls with life and information.

The Vogelfinder app

A journey through birdsong


Discover the travels of German Botanist Friedrich Sellow, who brought this specimen to Germany in the 19th Century.


A simple and minimalistic interface keeps the technology in the background of the exhibit.


Augmented reality expands many of the "hero moments” of the experience.


Activating the historical archive

Many of the birds have been in the collection for well over 100 years. One of the main challenges of this project was to boil down a hundred years of scientific research into 30 to 45 minutes of compelling storytelling. But we did it together!


Using the sound of birdsong to navigate the space

A beautiful case for the use of Audio Augmented reality. Follow the bird songs as they guide you to each of the twelve stations where you will discover the story of a particular bird. Where does the hummingbird live? Which of those birds is extinct? Who were the historical collectors who brought these specimens back to Germany?



To design the journey through the space we borrowed a technique from game design. We used a “Story Matrix” that had multiple layers of entry to simultaneously analyse stories, emotions, assets, … for each specimen presented in the tour. This allowed us to map the content on an archetypal emotional journey, creating a continuous storyline through multiple stations.

A magical soundscape

Alongside scientists and experts at the museum, we identified the 12 most promising specimens, and matched them with existing sound recordings from the museum's own animal sounds archive. Then, to complete the illusion of live birds flying and singing through the hall, we collaborated with award winning sound designer David Kamp of Studio Kamp, who mixed the sounds into an interactive binaural soundscape

We want to awaken the spirit of discovery among visitors. The app acts like a digital window into the past and behind the scenes of various areas of the museum.

— Tina schneider

This exhibition was fully booked for its entire duration, and even got extended to double the original planned exhibition time due to its success and demand.