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.
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.
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.