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Who hasn’t wished at some time in their life to slip into an old painting from past times, meet the people there, and find out how they lived? With “Dive into the Picture! Time Travel for Kids” the Deutsches Historisches Museum sets off on a new track, showing from 2 June 2024 to 19 January 2025 its first children’s exhibition. With this new format the DHM invites young museum guests of elementary-school age and their families to explore one of the four paintings from the famous cycle “Augsburg Labours of the Months” from the 16th century. As in a pop-up book the kids can dive into the world of the Early Modern Age. Right in time for International Children’s Day, the DHM is opening its doors on 1 and 2 June 2024 for an Opening Weekend free of charge. On Saturday from 1.00 pm to 6 pm and on Museum Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm, museum guests will have the opportunity to experience the new children’s exhibition in the Pei Building and also visit the DHM’s other current temporary exhibitions. At the opening the visitors will find a potpourri of activity and creativity stations for children and families.

Prof. Dr Raphael Gross, President of the Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum: “With our first children’s exhibition we are trying out new methods of education and communication with which we as a historical museum can satisfy the needs of a very young audience. This is not a trivial matter, because children in elementary school age first begin to develop an epochal understanding of history. In this process we want to accompany them in their encounter with a specific historical epoch. This attempt is also important for us in our preparations for the new Permanent Exhibition, which will include a large section for children and families.”

The curators Petra Larass and Dr Stephanie Neuner: “We find it important for the young visitors to deal with the topics of the exhibition autonomously and intuitively. By working with our “Children’s Advisory Board” we know that children are very interested in historical subject matter and puzzling objects. In our exhibition the kids can explore a historical epoch with all of its multifaceted aspects and interrelationships. We hope that by diving into this period of history they will become more curious about history in general.”

In this inclusive and largely barrier-free exhibition, children between 6 and 12 years of age will come into contact with visible and invisible aspects of history, which they can discover in the example of the picture of the months “January – February – March”: Did life really look like that 500 years ago? What does the painting tell us about the past and what doesn’t it show us? And how did people live in those times? In a playful way the young museum guests not only gain knowledge of urban and everyday life of the Early Modern Age. The children’s exhibition also guides them, in German and English, through an exact and critical observation of pictorial representations. Like a historical “hidden object picture” the large-format painting presents a great many exciting details and figures. Starting from individual scenes the curators invite the museum guests to set out on a discovery tour through an early-modern-age city and to dive into the lives of the people there. Four contemporary figures – a patrician lady, a tournament horseback rider, a merchant’s son, and a shepherd – will come alive as historical characters and introduce the visitors to the four main themes of the exhibition: people, games, commercial trade, and nature.

A visit to the exhibition focuses above all on exploring and experiencing it together: based on the four main topics, the historically designed tour through the exhibition offers entertaining and interactive educational formats grouped together around the central picture of the months “January – February – March”. Many activity stations – supplemented by video and audio stations as well as walls to be painted and decorated – allow for a playful approach to the topic and will stimulate all the senses. Whether sound and scent stations, games, riddles, jousts or puzzles – the main thing is to have fun with this history and dive into the painting. Numerous objects from the DHM’s own collections – including a chessboard and a knightly suit of armour – give children and adults an impression of the material culture of the Early Modern Age. Like a walk-in 3D backdrop, the exhibition architecture, covering a surface area of around 400 m², provides an impressive setting for the essential motifs, individual scenes, and colours of this painting of the months.

The “January – February – March” picture of the months is one of four paintings of the seasonal cycle originally known in English as the “Augsburg Labours of the Months”. It is among the most important artworks in the DHM collection and was one of the highlights of the Permanent Exhibition, which is now undergoing a thorough renovation. The paintings have been undergoing extensive restoration during the past years. Severely damaged motifs were reconstructed and can now be seen again. This first freshly restored painting will now be displayed in the DHM for the first time in a new Renaissance-style frame. Parallel to the historical exhibition area, a generously sized workshop will give the young visitors an additional opportunity to learn how to deal with original historical objects and get to know the restoration processes, and then be able to put their own creative ideas into practice here in the museum.

For the first time, now on a long-term basis, the Deutsches Historisches Museum is working on this new exhibition format together with a Children’s Advisory Board. These “Clever Magic Dragons”, aged 8 to 12, have acted as idea generators and testers in all phases of the planning and design of the exhibition and have proved to be important companions to the curators. The “Clever Magic Dragons” themselves are also represented in the exhibition in a video installation. There they tell how they imagine the ideal historical museum for young history fans should look and then request the public to give their own suggestions.

With its first exhibition for kids, the DHM gives itself a valuable opportunity to test and evaluate new forms of museal communication. The experience gained here will be incorporated into the concept of the coming Permanent Exhibition, which will go on display in a few years in the neighbouring Zeughaus.

Entry-free opening weekend:

Opening times: 1 and 2 June 2024, 10 am to 6 pm (the children’s exhibition opens on 1 June at 1.00 pm)

Free admission to all exhibitions in the Pei Building

Tours and Drop-in visits are offered

Games, handicrafts and creative activities

Snacks and drinks

High-resolution press photos can be downloaded upon registration in the press section of the DHM website