Jump directly to the page contents


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.

Raphael Gross, President of the Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum: “With our first children’s exhibition at the DHM we are trying out communication formats that meet the needs of a very young audience. This is not a trivial matter, because for young children the significance of every historical chronology – the terrains of history – is still a blank space. This attempt is also important for us in preparing our new Permanent Exhibition, which will have a large area 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 greatly interested in historical subject matter and mysterious objects. In our exhibition the kids can explore a historical epoch in all of its multifaceted aspects and interrelationships. We hope that by diving into this period of history they will become curious about history in general.”

In this inclusive exhibition, children between 6 and 12 years of age will come in contact with the visible and the invisible, 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 leap 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 will focus above all exploring and experiencing it together: based on the four main topics, the historical tour through the exhibition offers entertaining and interactive communication 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 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, knightly armour, and historical music instruments – 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 space of around 400 m², provides an impressive setting for the essential motifs, individual scenes, and colours of the painting of the months.

The “January – February – March” picture of the months is one of four paintings of the cycle 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 complete renovation. The paintings have been extensively restored in the past years. Severely damaged motifs were reconstructed and made discernible again. The freshly restored painting will now be shown 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 the additional opportunity to learn how to deal with original historical objects and get to know the restoration processes, and then to put their own creative ideas into practice here in the museum.

For the first time, but now on a long-term basis, the Deutsches Historisches Museum is working on this new exhibition format together with a children’s advisory board: the “Clever Magic Dragons” aged 8 to 12 have acted as idea generators and testers in all phases of the planning and design and 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 to be and request the public to give their own suggestions.

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

Press tour: Thursday, 30 May 2024, 11 am, ground floor, Pei Building

Entry-free programme weekend: Saturday, 1 June 2024, 1 to 6 pm as well as entry-free “Museum Sunday” on 2 June 2024, 10 am to 6 pm, Pei Building

The first high-resolution press photos are available in the press area of the DHM website.