Berlin – The Humboldt Forum in the recently opened City Palace is like many other sights in Berlin: locals often only go there when they have announced a visit from outside the city. A mistake. The Humboldt Forum is a place that cannot be captured with just one visit. The Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art, the Berlin exhibition of the city museum “Berlin Global”, a show for children and families and much more invite you to rediscover the forum over and over again. You shouldn’t miss out on a very special place.
Berlin and the world – closely interwoven
In the “Weltstudio”, which is located right next to the “Berlin Global” show, you can discover unique machines that show in a playful way how we Berliners and people from all over the world are networked and interwoven. Berlin is a village, yes. But a global one.
A special kind of manufacture is hidden behind a glass door on the first floor. In the “Weltstudio” visitors can use three machines to visualize their relationships with Berlin and the world and perhaps take a real insider tip home with them. The participatory offer was conceived by curator Constanze Schröder.
“People want to touch things, they want something haptic,” says the 54-year-old. And so, right at the first station, a loom invites you to knot your own origins together with other visitors to form a long carpet. The color of the thread symbolizes the origin from one of the many regions of the world. The color pattern of the rag rug that emerges over time is as diverse as the people who come to Berlin.
There are no displays, screens and animations in this room, but rather spools of thread, cutting pliers, paper and tools. The space works across generations. Young and old alike approach the stations with curiosity. And because there are not explanatory boards everywhere, you quickly get into a conversation about how what works and what is thought here.
Tips by the marble run
The heart of this interactive exhibition is a spherical cartographer. Bullet what? A heavy wooden ball rattles over a steel frame of a hand-forged marble run that rises up to the ceiling of the room. Karoline Krause from Magdeburg used a crank to maneuver her ball up onto a ramp. She is now following the journey of the sphere, with a folded piece of paper inside. Krause had previously described the route to one of her favorite places in the world on her very personal map.
“It could be the best ice cream parlor in Naples, or an idyllic bank on the banks of the Spree,” explains Constanze Schröder. Once a ball has reached the top, it knocks against others with a dark pop. Finally, a ball that has been on the train the longest falls down and you can remove the card from inside: the insider tip of one or the other as a unique Berlin souvenir. There are tips hidden in Chinese characters, or places that are not in any “Lonely Planet” travel guide.
Fate is given the opportunity to present small miracles every day: a nicer Berlin souvenir is probably nowhere else to be found. On Karoline Krause’s card, for example, a four-year-old Theodor gave wise advice: “Love your family,” it says on the card.
A third cartographer, the person cartographer, invites you to create a poster on large forms that deals with the question of the extent to which you yourself are connected to the world as a global citizen. Templates and suggestions tickle creative ideas even from those who initially believe that they cannot do anything with the project. The posters then become part of the exhibition themselves or can be taken away.
The world studio wants to open the museum to many people. Berlin meets the world here – and the world meets Berlin. You can develop your own ideas on site and put them into practice. The studio is aimed at everyone: families, school classes, adults, communities, clubs, activists. Anyone who has ideas for projects will find open ears here. Who, if not we Berliners, could play on this stage in a variety of ways?
Visiting the Humboldt Forum is free until mid-November. Only time slot tickets have to be booked. But it pays to be quick.