Kids in Museums: Putting the DDR Museum to the Test

August 9, 2013

Kids in Museums, Germany

I’ve written before in length about the DDR Museum in Berlin, which gives an insight into both everyday life in the former German Democratic Republic as well as into the political side of things (check my previous post for further details). However, the other week was the first time we visited with #MuseumBaby. In fact, it was a multi-generational visit, since we had Granny Scotland with us too. The museum bills itself as “one of the most interactive museums in the world”, so we thought we’d check out how toddler friendly it was.

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#MuseumBaby made a beeline straight to the Trabant car, no surprises there. He made the observation that here was *another* car you can sit inside (the other one he knows of being the Trabant at the Deutsches Technikmuseum). The adults waiting for their turn were thankfully very good natured about it when he elbowed them aside to get to the driver’s seat. I’m still not sure how we managed to get him our of there again!

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He showed limited interest for the objects in the display cases, with the exception of the Sandmännchen (Little Sandman) doll. Sandmännchen is a German children’s bedtime TV programme using stop motion animation, which #MuseumBaby has watched at my sister’s house. He was quite excited to see it in the museum.

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By far the biggest hit, after the Trabant, was the recreated DDR living room. I think we spent at least half our visit here with #MuseumBaby on the phone, switching the TV channels (the button for which is right next to the phone) and serving us “cuppa tea” over and over and over again.

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In the section on TV and media, we re-encountered Sandmännchen in one of the film clips you could watch and listen to over headphones. Children have a wonderful ability to watch the same thing twenty times in a row without getting bored, which is exactly what #MuseumBaby proceeded to do.

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The last highlight of our visit, for #MuseumBaby, was playing a game of miniature table football against Granny Scotland, in the section on sport and leisure. He couldn’t quite reach, so received a little help from his dad.

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All this took place in the first half of the museum focusing on everyday life. #MuseumBaby didn’t show much interest in the half about the political side of things, beyond being disappointed that the limousine to sit in was out of bounds that day. However, at this point we had been in the museum for over an hour, which is pretty good going for a 2.5 year old, so it was difficult to tell whether it was the the exhibition as such or just that his overall attention span had run out at that point. Maybe a bit of both, but perhaps we’ll just have to come back and start at the other end next time to test it out. Lunch was calling us, so we continued our visit in the museum’s restaurant with some typical DDR food. We decided to give the sugared pasta a miss and I enjoyed a Soljanka soup while #MuseumBaby polished off a Ketwurst.

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Overall I would say the visit was a success. However, as one of Berlin’s most popular museums it gets very busy on the weekend, so if you can I would recommend going at a quieter time during the week if you’re visiting with children. Also, if you’re toddler is going to be running around the exhibition anyway, either leave your pushchair at home or if you have one that folds up think about leaving it at the cloakroom, as the museum is a bit tight on space.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. {Berlin} The DDR Museum | The Ex-Expat - January 21, 2016

    […] It gets a little crowded at the weekend, as it’s one of Berlin’s most popular museums, but other than that we felt it was a successful with and we wouldn’t hesitate to take the boy there again. You can find out more information and photos from our visit over on Museum Diary. […]

  2. {Germany} Plattenbau Living at the DDR Museum | Museum Diary - September 29, 2016

    […] love it here, considering how difficult it was to tear the older one away from just the living room on our previous visit. I will definitely be planning a return with the two of them! Many thanks to the DDR for inviting me […]

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