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July, 2006 - Nr. 7


The Editor
Sound of Music
KW & Beyond
Dick announces...
Tie the Knot at CNE
Betraying Our Children
Herwig Wandschneider
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Métis Arts Festival
TSO & Detroit Symphony
COC's Complete Ring Cycle
RBC Seniors' Jubilee
Darstellung Deutschlands
Claudia Schiffer Promotes
German Historical Museum
International AIDS Conference
Werner Herzog Welcomed
Praise after World Cup
Close - but no cigar
Magic of Soccer
German-built Space Lab
Biofuels Show Promise
Easy Border Crossing

German Historical Museum
puts 2,000 years on show

TWIG - Berlin’s German Historical Museum has unveiled a groundbreaking permanent exhibition that spotlights over 2,000 years of German history in what is being called the first attempt to chronicle the entirety of German history in a single display.

With more than 8,000 displayed objects on more than 80,000 square foot of floor space, the show offers visitors an opportunity to walk through nine eras of German history, from the time the region was settled by Celtic and Germanic tribes on up to the present.

The exhibits include such highlights as a crossbow that once belonged to Emperor Maximilian, the jacket of a dress uniform worn by Frederick the Great, and a bullet-riddled globe from Hitler’s Chancellery.

Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the exhibition at Berlin’s historical Old Armory, the "Zeughaus," last Friday, with Merkel saying she was impressed by the museum’s ability to depict history in a lively and engaging way.

The display reflects an open, subtle, and comprehensive view of history, Merkel said.

"Only he who understands his own history knows how to approach others with confidence and openness," she added.

Unlike most of the new exhibitions to have opened in the country in recent years, the new exhibition forgoes flashy multimedia stations in favor of getting at the inherent meaning of objects.

Beginning with Germany’s origins in the years before the birth of Christ and moving through to the 21st century, everyday life is evoked through objects chosen artfully from the museum’s collection of over 800,000 artifacts.

Visitors will witness Germany emerge as non-cohesive nation bound first only by its common language spoken by the Germanic tribes that gave the country its name, and follow as German identity slowly begins to take shape through the Middle Ages.

It follows with Germany’s response to the French Revolution, its development into Europe’s industrial powerhouse in the 19th century, and its eventual nationhood in 1871. In every era, Germany’s history is presented in a European context.

The terrors of the Nazi dictatorship form an important part of the exhibition — and rightly so, said Merkel, who called that era "the absolute low point of our history."

Curators also included displays on the "divided memory" of the two Germanys by faithfully representing the experiences of East Germans in the run-up to the peaceful demonstrations that helped them win their freedom in 1989.

The permanent exhibition, housed in the former Prussian armory and with a modern wing built by architect I.M. Pei in 2003, is conceived with the more than half a million young people in mind who visit the museum each year, roughly 40% of the 1.5 visitors the museum receives in total. It marks the re-opening of the museum after an extensive re-conceptualization project.

The museum, which was founded in October 1987 at the initiative of then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, is housed in Berlin’s Old Armory ("Zeughaus") on the city’s grand "Unter den Linden" boulevard. Remodeling of the interior to accommodate the permanent exhibition was begun in 1998.

The museum’s permanent exhibition is rounded out by steady stream of regularly changing exhibitions, the most recent of which brings together a collection of sports photography to celebrate the soccer World Cup that kicks off in Germany June 9.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


German Historical Museum


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