LEM Study Visit in Hamburg, Germany

On 29 May 2015 11 participants from Italy, Germany, UK, Ireland and Armenia gained an insight into Hamburg's museums and their educational programmes.

In the morning the group was welcome at the Hamburger Kunsthalle by Vera Neukirchen, Museumsdienst Hamburg and Wybke Wiechell, Head of Education in the Kunsthalle. Wybke Wiechell talked about the Kunsthalle's current strategy, while the museum is going through refurbishment and two thirds are closed. Apart from the renovation, Wybke's challenges are the rethinking of the (future) programmes, new projects with special target groups such as people with disabilities,  people with dementia and preschool-projects.

The LEM group particularly discussed the fees for entry, tours and educational programmes and the ensuing community engagement and outreach to disadvantaged audiences. Vera and Wybke pointed out that community engagement is a big challenge for a lot of the museums in Hamburg. School classes from deprived areas hardly come to Kunsthalle, due to the high fees for public transportation. After the introduction the group got a guided tour through the permanent exhibition, the tour ended in the children’s space of the museum.

A visit to the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (MKG) followed, where Silke Oldenburg, Head of Education and Marketing welcomed the group. A guided tour introduced the LEM group to the museum's collections. The participants were impressed by the variety of collection fields; the way exhibits where displayed and how the museum, especially Silke Oldenburg, tried to interact with the audiences in the different exhibitions. After discovering many of the great exhibits the group finally reached the touching exhibition “fast fashion”, the first one in Europe that deals with the big problems of the fashion industry, based on the  Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh in 2013.

The third and last stop of the day was the Hamburg Museum that deals with the history of the city of Hamburg. Vera Neukirchen briefly introduced the work of the Museumsdienst Hamburg. The Museum Service is the central visitor service for 22 museums in Hamburg and coordinates their educational programmes. Mareike Ballerstedt, Head of Education in Hamburg Museum, then introduced the history and challenges of the house. The introduction was followed by an interesting tour through the permanent exhibition of the museum that is devoted to Hamburg's vibrant history from the city's beginnings in the small 9th century settlement Hammaburg until today.

At the end of the long day, the LEM Working Group concluded the study visit with an evaluation and a short discussion of the next steps for the Working Group. The next study visit and group meeting will take place in Pilsen in November 2015, as part of NEMO's Annual Conference.

NEMO and the LEM WG would like to thank everybody involved in the study visit!