The exhibition “The Whole Truth … everything you always wanted to know about Jews” opens in a few days. The curatorial team steps back to admire the showcases and compliment one another on a job well done.
Not quite. Let me guide you through my afternoon.
13:45 After returning our food trays in the Mensa, there is a rush for the freezer box containing ice cream. Avoiding the crush, I make for the candy stand. Deliberations. I confer with my colleagues. M & Ms, Toblerone and Rittersport. Wrappers are discarded before we have even left the room.
14:00 I scroll through the 13 page document listing the questions asked by museum visitors. The questions relate to Jews, Judaism and the Jewish Museum Berlin. Many repetitions. The list needs to be tidied up for exhibition use. A few samples:
Why are there so many Jewish museums and who pays for it all?
Are Jews normal?
Do Jews have horns?
Why do Jews think they are so special?
Why don’t all Jews live in Israel?
Why didn’t Jews defend themselves against the Nazis?
Time for another sugar inhalation.
16:00 The showcase legs are in Berlin – hurrah! With great anticipation we rush to the galleries on a Toblerone high. The conservation department meets us there. Will the showcases survive the “wobble” test? Showcases are forcibly wobbled, but prove to be stable. A big relief for all.
16:50 One showcase has a built-in microphone into which the visitors should speak. The microphone is set at a height of 1 meter 20 cms. I suggest that it would be better if our taller visitors did not have to bend over double in order to use it. We call the designer. The height is set for children and visitors in wheelchairs. I sense Tall-ism.
17:30 Graphic designer is on the phone. Yes, the 10,000 post-it notes have been printed and are ready for shipment. They include a reference to the museum’s Facebook page. By the way, there is a small typo and the link takes you to a man in Mexico.
The evening is still before us. Pass the M & Ms.
Michal Friedlander, Curator for Judaica and Applied Arts