Media Articles about the Lake Dwelling Museum
The lake-dwelling museum of Unteruhldingen
|The lake-dwelling museum of Unteruhldingen is situated on the Lake Constance in the South-East of Germany, on the northern shore of an international lake that borders Switzerland in the South and Austria in the East. It shows 20 Neolithic and Bronze Age houses (4000 – 850 BC), includes an archaeological research institute and a museum building on shore for temporary and regular exhibitions. It was founded in 1922 by an archaeological association with presently more than 600 members. A very special fact is that the museum finances itself to 100%. 17 employees all year and up to 57 colleagues in summer organise the museum within the departments maintenance, science and administration. We have 240.000 to 300.000 visitors every year , and yearly, about 35 museum guides provide 16-17.000 guided tours. So, the concept of the museum is to be visited by guided tours. Additionally, there are special exhibitions, target group orientated projects and events.
As a combined indoor- and outdoor-museum it offers several museological ways of communication with the visitor. There are information boards for abstract learning, original finds in showcases from settlements and tombs fascinate with the means and the aura of the authentic. Animated divers in an underwater basin demonstrate the archaeological method of excavating. Research results can be explained by table showcases with small models. Life pictures of lake-dwellings still inhabited today, for example in Western Africa, provide analogies and create a background for detailed explications of the way of life in former times on the water, on rivers, lakes and lagoons.
Like in every open-air-museum, the presentation of the landscape is very effective. The architectural models tell culture and landscape history without using words. Our historical repertoire reaches from the Ice Age to the regional history of modern times. Archaeological basis research, scientific review of the topics we want to present but also a steady development and supplement of the knowledge contents are our main tasks.
For the exhibition sectors we produce reconstructions in different materials ourselves, and because of the high number of everyday devices we attempt to be as independent as possible of our suppliers. Of course, our school projects also have to include boating and archery.
In a mixture of theoretical, haptic and practical instruction we want to enable the view over the adaptation of humans during the historical development in a social community. Mediating experiences and being an extracurricular learning place makes a day in the museum be unforgettable. Producing own products, taking them home and telling about the museum belongs to the successful recipes of the archaeological open-air museum. At the moment, we offer more and more projects not only for children but also for adults and elderly people.
How did man look like 3000 years ago? How did he die? How long did he live? These are, as all of you know, the most important questions in the museum. With the help of anthropology and art archaeological answers can be found. Integrating them in the museum seems to be an important task.
Are you allowed to present death and violence, crime and cult in a museum? We think you are – and not only because the kids already know every possible kind of death already in primary school, but because it is a good way to present culture, abuse of religion and a lack of tolerance against different-minded people. The past was neither better nor worse. As archaeologists we are obliged to present our whole range of knowledge and to provide the best opportunities to offer this knowledge to our visitors, even if it doesn’t meet the spirit of the age. The relation from the archaeological original to the museum visitor, the search for traces, is important to us. Even the fingerprints of early humans that remained in the ground of some pots are interesting for us. We can see whether they cut their finger nails or not – and this fascinates our visitors. We create connections and we send our visitors to a time journey. Naturally, every method is important here, and we were very happy to create a website in 13 languages together with EXARC within our project Delphi.
But it is even more important to us to have the visitor in flesh and blood in our museum, also in the future. Therefore we hope that the project liveARCH makes another step in the right direction. We want to develop ourselves for our visitors’ good and we need innovative approaches and contents. We just, together with the largest TV channel of Germany, the ARD, we sent 13 people for 10 weeks into the stone age. It was temporary very hard for them as it rained for 4 weeks in August, something no-one would have thought. It will be exciting to watch the experiences of those 21st century people in the stone age on television. We wonder what the people and viewing rates will report about it. We hope it will be a piece of good living archaeology.