#MuseumBoy does the Lange Nacht der Museen

September 2, 2015

Kids in Museums, Germany

All good things come in threes, as they say, so after my two previous posts about Berlin’s Lange Nacht der Museen, I have one final post to share with you: the big night itself! As I previously mentioned, #MuseumBoy was VERY excited to be coming along for the first time. Or, as he puts it, to be ‘helping mummy with her work’. After studying the programme together, he even ‘wrote’ a list of all the things he wanted to see and do. It was several pages long, so I compiled some of my favourite entries for you:

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - wish list

Left = the shuttle bus and above it an exploding water rocket (at Archenhold Observatory); top right = Darth Vader (at Museum für Kommunikation Berlin); bottom right = Qwoo, the sausage mascot at Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin. I asked why Qwoo wasn’t long and thin like a sausage, and #MuseumBoy answered “He has had too much to eat so now he’s fat. But he is happy.”

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - in transit

Officially, the ‘Lange Nacht’ kicked off at 6pm, but some of the museums were starting their family programme from 3pm onwards, so we decided to get an early start since there was no way we would be staying up until 2am and I wanted us to have a good chunk of time. Our first stop, was the MACHmit! Kindermuseum, one of several children’s museums in Berlin.  They change their exhibition over once or twice a year. We’ve visited a couple of times before and seen exhibitions on Romans and Fairy Tales, and this time round it was an art based exhibition all about Paul Klee.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Paul Klee

As expected, it was very busy, but we did have a good look around and stopped at some of the hands-on activities to follow in Klee’s footsteps and unleash our inner artists. #MuseumBoy particularly liked the light table mosaic.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - making art

As a nice little bonus, there was a table with free science magazines, so we chose one of the kids’ ones. It came with a free giant spider – score!

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - free magazines

Of course, whatever the current exhibition, the biggest attraction is the museum’s popular climbing frame. I look forward to the day #MuseumBoy turns 5 – children under 5 need to be accompanied by an adult. My poor knees!

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Machmit Kindermuseum

Another fun exhibit they had on show was the ‘Zwitschermaschine’ (Twittering Machine), a giant contraption with many wheels and handles to turn which makes the whole thing whirr and hiss, clank and whizz. It is based on a watercolour of the same name by Paul Klee!

As always, the museum had several craft stations where you could draw and make all kinds of things. Several times I asked #MuseumBoy if he would like to do any of the craft workshops, and then just as we were about to leave he decided he wanted to make a little matchbox man after all. Typical! Thankfully, me years of running crafts sessions for kids stood me in good stead, and together we knocked together a little policeman – complete with a hat and shiny police badge – in next to no time. And then we were on our way. I had explained at the beginning that we would be ‘testing’ several museums that evening, so we couldn’t stay as long as we normally would, and he accepted that without any fuss.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Matchbox Man

Our next stop was Museum Island, to pick up our goodie bags and lunch boxes from the Livekritik team, which all the bloggers who were out exploring and reporting for them that night were receiving. Our tickets had already been delivered to us two days before (many thanks for that!) so that we could do the early start for families. #MuseumBoy was fascinated by the idea of Museum Island. A real island? With water round it? Full of museums? Amazing!

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Museumsinsel

We arrived a little early, so while we were waiting for the others, we scheduled in a little ice cream break. It was after 5pm and still well over 20 C degrees (we really lucked out with the weather), so ice creams were certainly in order. Ach, who am I kidding, ice cream is my weakness, it’s always in order :D

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - ice cream

Here’s a little glimpse in to the lunch box, which had in fact been sponsored by the Golden Tulip Berlin. Due to my gluten free diet I could only eat the fruit, but #MuseumBoy enjoyed tucking in to the rest. Apparently the sandwiches were “delicious!”, and the fact that it all came in a cute little box and had been a gift made it all the more attractive to him.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - lunch box

From Museum Island, we headed out to the Archenhold Observatory, which took us about 40 minutes to get to. I had never been here before, and didn’t realise it was part of the same Trust that our beloved Technology Museum belongs to.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Archenhold Sternwarte

First up, we went to make a ‘pirate telescope’. It was a bit fiddly, to I had to help a lot, but #MuseumBoy was very good at giving instructions, lol. No sooner had we finished, then he was out of his seat and rushing off to the water rocket workshop next door.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - pirate telescope

This again involved #MuseumBoy mostly in the role of artistic director, with me doing the main construction work, but he had an exact idea in his mind of what he wanted it to look like and this was the thing he had most been looking forward to all week.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - diy rocket

Rocket finally constructed, we headed out in to the grounds to the launch pad. They have an amazing contraption there, which lets you launch your rocket either as high as you can or as far as you can. Having witness a couple of the ‘high’ rockets come crashing back down on to people’s heads, we opted for far. This was the moment we had been working up to all week, and it was over in a few minutes. #MuseumBoy was ready to rejoin the Q for another launch, but as it was getting late and they were already past the advertised time for this workshop, launches were being restricted to one per person. Considering how far off the beaten track the observatory is, the rocket workshop was insanely popular! Apparently they are re-running it at the end of October – with glow sticks, so you can launch it in the dark too – so we may come back for that.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - rocket lauch

We could easily have stayed at the observatory for the rest of the evening – even though the rocket launching was over, there was still the observatory itself to explore with its telescopes and its exhibitions about the planets. On arrival, #MuseumBoy had said he wanted to have a closer look at an exhibit about the sun. So I gave him the choice of whether we stay or whether we go see a couple more other museums before the night was over. In the end, he decided he still really wanted to see Darth Vader and ‘the big Currywurst’, so we hopped on a bus back to town.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Museum fuer Kommunikation

First we headed to the Museum für Kommunikation. Initially, we had been considering taking part in a workshop to design a robot, but it was already about 9pm by the time we got there and I could tell #MuseumBoy was starting to get tired, even if he wouldn’t admit it. I stressed that it was okay to change your plans and suggested we just go and say hello to the museum’s robots in the main hall instead, which we then did. Then we looked around to see if we could find Darth Vader, which had been the main pulling attraction, but we just found Boba Fett and a Stormtrooper instead. I don’t know if Darth Vader had been around earlier and we’d missed him, or if plans had changed and he wasn’t there at all after all, but I had to come up with an explanation quickly – luckily #MuseumBoy accepted the story that Darth Vader hadn’t been feeling well and had sent along some of his friends instead. Phew.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - meeting Boba Fett

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Star Wars

Our final stop for the day was the Currywurst Museum. As ever, it was immensely popular – I had been looking forward to a little Currywurst snack, but the Qs were too long – but we had a look around inside, where #MuseumBoy enjoyed doing the kids’ trail and listening to songs on giant ketchup bottles (you can read more about the museum’s interactive exhibition in my previous post).

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Currywurst Museum

Before he hopped on to the subway back home, we managed to get in a photo op with the museum’s mascot, Qwoo himself. I don’t think #MuseumBoy remembers it, but he has actually met him before four years ago at the race track! All in all, it was a long but successful day. My little helper did amazingly well, no fuss, no meltdowns, and I was ready for my bed much earlier than he was. Our conversation went a little bit like this:

Me: “Are you tired?”
Him: “No.”
Me: “Are you a bit over excited?”
Him: “YES I AM!!!”

Would I do the ‘Lange Nacht’ with kids again? Yes, I definitely would. There are probably some things to be learned from the night, so perhaps I will do an updated ‘tips on how to survive a long nights of museums‘ post for next year. But for now, this year’s ‘Lange Nacht’ gets a big thumbs up from Qwoo and from #MuseumBoy! Many thanks to all the museums that took part for putting on such a great programme, and thanks again to Livekritik and the Kulturprojekte’s Lange Nacht Team for inviting us to be one of the special bloggers for the night. We had an awesome time.

Lange Nacht Berlin with Kids - Qwoo

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6 Responses to “#MuseumBoy does the Lange Nacht der Museen”

  1. QWoo Says:

    Awesome! Could this get any better next time?? ;)
    (The part with the fat and happy QWoo gave us a really good laugh over here.)


    • Jenni Fuchs Says:

      Well, yes, I fear we have set the bar quite high this year! Also, I doubt I’ll ever be able to go to Lange Nacht on my own again :D



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