Wooden Bedstead

Beds were everywhere in the 18th and 19th century workhouses, and everyone spent time sleeping in and tending to their bed. Given their ubiquity, a bedstead would be a crucial piece of a museum exhibit seeking to expose this portion of workhouse life.

One possible means of incorporating digital tools into a bed showcase might be through the use of VR. A replica bed could be placed in an open space, and users could approach the real bed while immersed in a virtually reproduced setting. As the user approaches and examines the bed, the room in which it is located could change, to demonstrate the wide range of rooms in the workhouse that had a bed. One could even imagine creating a game that requires you to clean a dirty bedstead to advance through the sequence of rooms. A simpler display could employ projectors to change the setting for the bed.

Regardless of the means, the bed’s exhibit would serve as a recognizable touchstone to transport visitors into the workhouse setting. We all recognize beds as items central to our lives, and that makes them a good point to compare and contrast our experience with that of a workhouse inmate.


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