{Germany} Birth & Baby Welcome Rituals Around the World

March 8, 2016

Kids in Museums, Germany

100 Museums Challenge: Museum No.15

In the January edition of ‘Berlin Museums for Kids‘, I mentioned the new exhibition ‘Geboren und Willkommen‘ that opened at the MACHmit Museum for Children. A couple of weekends ago, #MuseumBoy attended a birthday party at the museum, giving me the chance to have a look around too.

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 11

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 03

The “MACHmit!” Children’s Museum, which means as much as “Join in!”, is located in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg inside the former Elias Church. The museum doesn’t have a permanent exhibition, instead changing their exhibition themes at least once a year. Previous themes have included the artist Paul Klee, fairy tales, Romans, children’s rights, museums and memory, energy, dreams, and chocolate, amongst others.

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 12

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 13

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 07

The new exhibition, which translates as ‘born and welcome’, focuses on newborn welcome rituals around the world and the biological knowledge all around the birth of a baby. How are babies welcomed in to different cultures? What do they hear inside their mother’s womb? What does a newborn need to thrive? What does a midwife actually do? WHat is the relation between babies and plants? Who chose your name and what does it mean? Why do babies in the Canary Isles receive yellow clothes, or parents in France hand out sugar almonds? And what do the UN children’s rights have to do with all this? Visitors can explore these and other questions in various interactive stations, e.g. from The Creation of Life, The Wonders of Birth, and The Circle of Life, through Family and Neighbours, Names and Birthdays, to Every Child has Rights (note that I have translated the exhibition titles – all the information within the exhibition is in German only).

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 08

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 06

Activities include, amongst other things, a dollhouse to play with, a bath filled with lentils you can sit in (I didn’t quite catch what that was all about, but the kids seemed to be having fun!), a midwife’s bag you can unpack, and plenty of baby dolls to swaddle. Anyone who wants to see what they might look like pregnant can grab a bump to strap on, and if it all gets to much, you can crawl inside the giant womb – complete with a giant cuddly placenta, for a bit of extra time.

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 04

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 05

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 09

A nice extra touch was the historic soap shop, which is a permanent feature of the museum but gets transformed with each new exhibition. For example, when we visited for their fairytale exhibition two years ago, kids could role play as being shop keepers who sold fairytale characters supplies, such as a golden ball (Frog Prince), a poisoned comb (Snow White) or some roses (Sleeping Beauty). Now is has been transformed in to the ‘Apotheke Semmelweis’, a chemists. Other permanent fixtures of the museum include a small mirror maze, and the popular ‘Kletter Regal’, a giant enclosed ‘bookcase’ for climbing fun (Note that children under 5 need to be accompanied on the climbing structure by an adult). The cafe sells a selection of cakes, ice creams, and the obligatory sausages, as well as a variety of healthy snacks and the usual drinks you’d expect in a cafe. One word of warning – the toilets are miles away (or so it seems) in the basement, so be prepared to make a mad dash for it if your kid suddenly announces it needs to go NOW!

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 02

machmit museum geboren und willkommen 01

In summary, this is an excellent exhibition well worth taking your kids to, whether they have younger siblings or to answer questions about their own birth. The museum is open daily except for Mondays, and admission for everyone age 3 and over is 5.50 Euro with discounts for younger kids and disabled visitors, as well as family ticket available. Further details about opening times and prices can be found on the museum website. The exhibition runs throughout 2016.

, , , ,


  1. Lentil Baths, Water Rockets & Super Heroes – Our Lange Nacht der Museen 2016 Highlights | Museum Diary - September 2, 2016

    […] for Children’s current exhibition is all about babies and birth rituals (I wrote a more detailed review about it earlier this year). Both boys had loads of fun dressing up, playing in a bath full of […]

  2. Berlin Museums for Kids: What’s On in November? | Museum Diary - November 2, 2016

    […] In other news, the exhibition ‘geborgen & willkommen’ – all about child birth and baby welcome rituals around the world – at the MACHmit! Museum für Kinder has been extended until 4th June 2017, due to popular demand! You can read a review of the exhibition in my previous blog post. […]

Leave a Reply