Outreach in the Weimar Museums
Modernism comes alive in the Bauhaus-Museum Weimar and the Neues Museum
How do you become a warrior for modernism? What does Hannes Meyer have to say to us today? And what does it feel like to actually sit on a Breuer chair? The Bauhaus-Museum and the Neues Museum in Weimar answer these and many other questions about the history and impact of modernism. Both museums, located within walking distance of each other in the new Weimar Museumsquartier, opened with new collection presentations in April 2019. To mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, a new building was also erected for the Bauhaus Museum.
The Weimar Museumsquartier
Over a period of two years, the Weimar Bauhaus Agents developed and tested new design and communication concepts together with children and young people. Hands-on stations, workshops and other interactive media now make the agents' work in the museums visible and tangible. As part of the museum team, the Weimar Bauhaus Agents Maxi Götze, Valerie Stephanie and Johannes Siebler accompanied both museums' design process from the very beginning.
Aiming to incorporate the interests of future visitors into the process of museum development in the best possible way, the Weimar Agents worked together with children, young people and educators from nine partner schools in the region–and with artists and designers as well as the curators of the two museums–to develop concepts for visitor orientation, content for various media such as the Bauhaus+ App, and also to test new outreach and communication formats.
Workshops as meeting places
The Bauhaus triggered an artistic revolution one hundred years ago with its combination of art and craftsmanship, and experimentation with materials, colours and forms. Thanks to the Bauhaus Agents, now the museum spaces have also become active, usable workshops and meeting places. In the run-up to the project, the agents gathered experience with the temporary "BAU" workshop, which evolved as part of the project work. It can now be found, in a new form, as an integral component of the new museums.
The three outreach workshops offer visitors the opportunity to participate and experiment with their own designs. For example, "Book Work" in the Neues Museum invites visitors to bind and embellish books in the tradition of Otto-Dorfner. Meanwhile, the adjacent educational workshop offers space for school workshops and project days. The agents were assisted in their realisation by the curatorial team and the bookbinding workshop of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library.
The "Workshop Café" in the Neues Museum also invites visitors to become creative. This combination of café and workshop offers the space and opportunity to get to know various craft techniques. Visitors can try their hand at small creative tasks such as stamping postcards. The concept for the café came from design duo NoBla and the Bauhaus Agents, based on original ideas from the Bauhaus Agents' schools.
In the "Work Laboratory" in the Bauhaus-Museum, visitors of all ages can work with various materials and with digital media. There is also the possibility to design objects in collaboration with artists from the region. Every first Thursday of the month, the Bauhaus Agents invite visitors to come along and experiment. The Work Laboratory was designed by museum architect Heike Hanada.
Hands-On Museum: Interactive Stations
In addition to the workshops, interactive hands-on stations also convey exhibition content in a playful manner. As "Construction Kit Builders", visitors to the Bauhaus Museum can develop their own house types from serial elements using Gropius' "large-scale construction kit", which he developed in Weimar and later used, for example, for the masters' housing in Dessau. The station "Construction Kit Builders" was developed from the agents' cooperation with the state grammar school Bergschule Apolda.
In the Neues Museum, "Painting Checkers" provide surprising insights into works of art on show. Using the "Element Reducer", museum guests become "warriors for modernism" by freeing furniture from superfluous ornamentation in an interactive game. The stations convey the will to design and spirit of renewal that already existed in Weimar before the Bauhaus, represented by protagonists such as Henry van de Velde and Harry Graf Kessler.
The final exhibition room in the Bauhaus Museum reflects the ideas about the future conceived by the Bauhaus' second director, Hannes Meyer, summarized in his utopian text "die neue welt" (1926). This room was curated by the Bauhaus Agents. A floor graphic with selected quotations from the text forms the basis for two exhibition platforms. What possibilities do we have to shape our lives today? What social challenges do we need to master? In changing spatial installations, these and other questions will be discussed by various creative artists, associations and citizens. Beyond pure design approaches, possible perspectives for the future will be open to discussion. The first quote, "the community rules the individual", opens the joint dialogue regarding the future. Projects from the Bauhaus Agents Programme such as "Weimar Matador" and various audio productions have also been included in the concept.
Stéphane-Hessel-Platz 1, 99423 Weimar
Mon. 9 am – 2.30 pm
Tues. to Sun. 9 am – 6 pm
Neues Museum Weimar
Jorge-Semrún-Platz 5, 99423 Weimar
Wed. to Mon. 10 am – 6 pm
Living Bauhaus (Hi)stories
Visitors to the new museums can expect not only interactive but also personal communication. The so-called "Bauhaus actors" will slip into different roles and so facilitate a living experience of the Bauhaus. Appearing as master craftsmen, scientists, architecture students or photographers, the actors of the youth theatre stellwerk weimar e.V. will tell stories to interested visitors and answer their questions about the Bauhaus. Every Sunday, three of the Bauhaus actors can be found at colour-coded locations in the Bauhaus Museum. In addition, the Bauhaus+ app, developed with the agents' assistance, offers the opportunity to explore the museums using an audio tour.
Using the educational tool "Bauhaus Bag", which can be borrowed from the Bauhaus Museum, children between the ages of 6 and 12 can embark on a discovery tour in urban space, experience exciting stories, and carry out experiments. In addition to the visitor badge, the Bauhaus backpacks contain various materials for experiencing and discovering, for example a speaking tube, a lamp or a mask. The Bauhaus Agents assisted a team from the Klassik Stiftung Weimar in developing this tool, which has been funded by the Thuringian State Chancellery.
From the start of the museum's conception, the outreach programme has focused on museum visitors – after the opening, as well. The offers developed by the agents are always being developed and supplemented further, so that visitors can continue to look forward to new and exciting projects in the future.