Jewish Museum Berlin for Toddlers

September 17, 2012

Kids in Museums, Germany

If you’ve been following Museum Diary for a while, you may know that we live only a stone’s throw away from the Jewish Museum Berlin. #MuseumBaby loves going inside, although so far we’ve just been to the Glass Courtyard with him for afternoon tea, or the gardens for a run around. This weekend, we were coming back from the shops and he kicked up such a fuss when I wouldn’t let him go inside the museum because we had to get home and put the shopping in the fridge and freezer. So we went straight back out after we were done, and he made a beeline for the museum’s entrance.

Here’s the man with a mission himself – I can’t decide whether he looks like Inspector Gadget or Columbo with that trench – and, of course, the teddies had to come along too. The Jewish Museum has airport tight security when you go in, and he was thrilled when his teddies got to go through the x-ray machine.

Once inside, we discovered that both the Glass Courtyard and the gardens were closed in preparation for an event, and it was all I could do to stop #MuseumBaby rattling the locked doors. What now? He didn’t want to leave, so I got a ticket to go see the permanent exhibition. Considering he has a three second attention span, I didn’t expect us to stay for long. I was wrong… Over an hour later, the only way to get him to leave (it was dinner time) was to pick him up and carry him out. That’s my boy! I honestly wasn’t expecting there to be that much to hold a toddler’s attention for so long, because even the small exhibit aimed specifically at kids is for slightly older children, but we…

…lost our balance in the Garden of Exile (the sloping ground is meant to reflect the fact that despite exile granting safety, “the escape from Germany and the arrival in a foreign country also caused feelings of disorientation”)

…hung a paper pomegranate on the wishing tree

…played hide and seek in some tunnels

…drew some pictures (admittedly, this did take up a large portion of our time)

…discovered some ducks, which is a thing he is currently obsessed with – we need to stop by the river every day on our way home from nursery to see if we can spot any

…checked out what we would look like with a “Kaiser” mustache

…spied on the cars on the street below (“Auto! Auto!”)

…listened to some recordings on an old telephone (definitely Columbo in this picture!)

…watched a Disney cartoon from 1926 in a cubby hole under the stairs, three times!

…tried to guess what was inside the feely boxes in the children’s exhibition

…and walked a red carpet.

Phew! No wonder we spent so long. To be fair, I didn’t get to see that much of the museum exhibits, but that’s not what our visit was about. I totally let #MuseumBaby take the lead. It was fun to watch him go round and see what catches his eye. I just love that he feels so at home in the museum. I probably would have considered twice paying the full admission price, because it could well have turned out that he got bored after 10 minutes, but since I can get in free with my ICOM card I didn’t really think about it. If you’re paying to go in, it would probably work out better with two adults, then you can take it in turns to supervise/ draw pictures/ watch cartoons while the other adult looks round. Definitely not a museum to discount just because you had a toddler.


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