Thursday, September 23, 2010
Mandie and I had a weekend of museums which was rather nice. We checked out the the Museum der Dinge, which means the museum of things, and it is exactly that. Various collections of stuff, everyday items, junk, and etc. on display in glass cases. The emphasis was on design and a running question; what is kitsch? There is also an archive of photos and documents related to the architect/furniture and product designer Herbert Hirche. One of my favorite things there was a suitcase which contained 45 shades of gray, each given a name by Hirche. The names are great! Check out the list below, and don't be afraid to copy and paste them into a translator if you don't understand them all.
1005 trüber Tag
1025 alles Scheiße
1036 große Misere
1041 völlig hoffnungslos
1045 letzter Gruß
After having some hot chocolate and playing some chess in a cafe, we stumbled upon a digital multimedia exhibition which focused solely on individuals who helped to hide or protect Jews or others who were being persecuted during the war.
The most involved museum we went to was the Märkisches Museum. It covers all sorts of things that reflect the evolution of Berlin. We learned about the early settlements of the Slavic tribes and saw models of the city during various stages of development. There is a really cool mechanical stereographic photo viewer from the 1800s that has old 3-D photos of the city and people. It was interesting to see how they were dressed, or to see things in older times that I recognized from now. In one room there is a display of mechanical musical instruments. I put a 2 cent coin into one and it played a lively tune on a barrel organ. While checking out one city model, a very enthusiastic guard came over and started to tell us about various parts of the model. He started to quiz us on various buildings in the model, including several which were designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. We were surprised to find that we knew the majority of them. I asked him about a previous model I had seen about something that just didn't sit right with me. In the model, there was a large wall built around the city of Berlin (picture). The wall was one of the impenetrable sort, and there was even a moat which was fed by the river. It was so large that I couldn't accept the fact that it simply no longer existed. I figured that there had to be some trace of it somewhere, and as it turns out, the guard said I was right, and that the S-bahn stations Jannowitzbrücke and Alexanderplatz, are both built on all that remains of the ancient barrier. The museum also had loads of art, photographs, coins, torture devices, and various other things that told a bit of the history and the story of how Berlin came to be the city it is today.
After adding to our growing knowledge of Berlin, we exited a train station and found ourselves in the middle of an enormous demonstration against nuclear energy, or Atomkraft. I read later that there were some 100,000 people protesting. lots of signs, stickers, fliers, interesting costumes and outfits, whistles, drums and other noisemakers. There were even protesters in the grocery store stocking up on drinks and snacks, which made an entertaining sight. We got some noodle boxes and sat on the steps next to the station in order to watch the procession pass by in a near endless stream of noisy color.
Not far from the Märkisches Museum, we bought a TV from a girl. We were going to carry it home but it ended up being way to heavy for us to manage it across the city, so Mandie ran off and then returned with a shopping cart. After loading it into the cart, we made our way slowly back to our apartment. We also picked up a dvd player, which in combination with the TV has made movie nights much easier and more enjoyable. We have also hooked up our free cable, and now we can watch German television.