"Since 2008 there was decided that The Barn form Oorderen could use not only a thorough restoration but also a more public-friendly interpretation. Together with Lens°Ass architects, the Open Air Museum Bokrijk started a very interesting and exciting project which contained a profound restoration and a new visual concept in The barn from Oorderen. During the restoration the barn got a new thatched roof, the woodwork was treated, the carpentry and brickwork were repaired and the clay floor was completely renewed.
The exhibition in The Barn from Oorderen tells the story of an impressive barn that moved to the open air museum Bokrijk in the mid ‘60.The barn is the only ‘saved’ building out of six villages, that were (partly) demolished and inundated to expand the port of Antwerp. The design of the exhibition departed from notions as ‘the social life’ and ‘the cultural biography’ of ‘things’. The barn now ‘tells’ on one side the story of the place where it originally stood and what events led to its abrupt removal to the museum in 1965. Touchscreens facilitate visitors to explore the petites histoires in different media: pictures, footage and testimonies give the visitors a nuanced image of the story. The stacked straw bales on the former threshing floor have been replaced by harbour stacked containers. A staircase in the containers leads to a lookout point that gives a clear view on the construction and through an interactive 360°-application visitors find out the earlier function and layout of the barn.
On the other side of the containers visitors are challenged to find out to which extent their daily life is influenced and affected by the port of Antwerp (and by extension those of Ghent and Seabruges). A water-projection gives the insinuation that you are in the harbour, next to that an application in which you can purchase virtual products that you buy regularly, tells you how (in)depended you are from the port of Antwerp. Before visitors leave, they are invited to post a public comment, thus voicing and sharing their stories with the larger museum community. Whereas its initial function in the village of Oorderen was a practical one, housing people and livestock and storing hay and goods, the barn turned in its ‘second life’ into a prism of interpretations."