Prahova County, renowned for the “black gold” – the oil, can be proud of being able to present, in a unique concept in Romania, also the story of the “white gold” – the salt, through a virtual journey inside the mine at the Salt Museum in Slanic. This project, inspired by a similar one made in France in an old coal mine, has marked, in mid-March, the reopening of the permanent exhibition of the museum, in a new presentation.
A virtual journey inside the salt mines of the end of the 18th century is possible starting from March 15, 2018, in Prahova County. Thus, tourists willing to have a special adventure can go to Slanic, at the Salt Mine, which is unique in our country, which reopened after a number of modernization works that included also the acquisition of some elements of cutting-edge technology, namely VR. “It’s an intense experience, unique in a Romanian museum, which is worthy to be lived individually, since it’s hard to be described in words” is the invitation of the management of the Prahova Museum of Natural Sciences, whose department the Slanic Salt Museum is. The virtual journey takes a few minutes. The tourists are invited to sit in a wooden wagon on the ground of the museum, similar to the one used by the miners to get into the mine in the old times. Through the lenses of the 3D VR glasses, each visitor has the impression that he or she enters the mine, first in an old exploitation shaft, passing later through several galleries – each of them being dedicated to a certain age – in order to find out, with the help of the virtual guide, how the salt exploitation has evolved over the time in Romania. Being advised to look to left or right alternatively during the virtual trip, the tourists are experiencing exciting moments, especially with the help of the special effects, from controlled explosions for destroying a huge salt wall, to an accident simulation which gives the impression that the rail tracks are suddenly over and the wagon falls into the water. Slowly, the wagon seems to run even faster, and after the rudimentary techniques used to extract the salt, modern means are also presented. In the end, when the VR glasses are removed, each tourist can say that he or she experienced a unique journey inside the womb of the earth, where everything seemed to smell like salt.
According to the project for the restoration of the exhibition, upstairs, visitors will be able to access an interactive table made by using added and kinetic reality technology, tools and materials used for the salt extraction being presented in addition to the information about salt.
The cost of the restoration of the Slanic Salt Museum was RON 150,000, the funds being allocated by the Prahova County Council; most of the money was dedicated to make the 3D VR movie. The concept is unique in Romania and was inspired by a similar project made in France, in an old coal mine. Thanks to the modern way in which the public will be able to explore the history of this invaluable wealth of the Romanian land, the Salt Museum thus becomes one of the main attractions for the visitors of the Slanic resort, together with the “Unirea” Salt Mine and the salt baths, renowned for treating various diseases. The price of a ticket to entry the museum is RON 5, or even RON 3 for groups that are larger than 10 people; the virtual wagon trip price is RON 5. The Salt Museum was inaugurated in May 2003 and it presents the evolution of the salt extracting and processing methods, the formation of deposits, tools and equipment, salt crystals and geological sketches, as well as the flora and fauna in the area. The museum is hosted by “casa Camarasiei”, a historical building since the end of the 18th century, a residence of the Ruler’s clerk in charge with collecting salt fees under the Ruler’s monopoly. In order to be transformed in museum, the house was completely rebuilt, using traditional techniques and methods as in the old times, with clay beveled between casings made of woven rods and wood nails. Upstairs, in one of the rooms, the office of the “camaras” (the Ruler’s clerk) was restored; the “camaras” was the equivalent of the manager of our days, the personal treasurer of the Ruler, in charge with the mines, being directly subordinated to the Ruler.
We mention that the reopening of the permanent exhibition of the Salt Museum in Slanic was marked by the event “Sarea, bogatie de milenii a pamantului nostru”, organized under the “Romania 100” Program, celebrating 100 years since the Romanian unitary national state was created.