Press Release, Thu 26 Sep 2019
On Sunday, 17 May 2020, the Jewish Museum Berlin will open the Children's World ANOHA to the public. In the former flower market hall across from the main building, a 2,700-square-meter space is currently being prepared, a place of discovery, exploration, and play for young visitors between the ages of three and ten.
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Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
ANOHA takes the story of Noah from the Torah as its starting point for a journey into the future. At the heart of the children's museum are over 150 different animals, a gigantic wooden ark – and the children themselves! The exhibition is divided into six areas that offer a creative stage for stories about the creation of the world, the flood, and new beginnings. In the process, ANOHA encourages reflection on the respectful coexistence of people, animals, and nature, emboldening children to develop their own visions of a diverse and better world.
"We want children to come not just as visitors but as co-designers! At ANOHA, they can and should be active," says Martin Michaelis, Managing Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin.
"We have an unusually young audience for a cultural history museum – every fifth visitor is under twenty years old. With the opening of ANOHA, we are creating a permanent space specifically for the youngest of these visitors to play and learn, a place that appeals to all children and families."
Please touch! A museum where nothing holds you back
The children's museum of the Jewish Museum Berlin doesn't have any glass cases or roped-off areas. Everything here can be inspected up close and touched. Based on the principle "hands-on – minds on," ANOHA is a creative place for ideas and experiments. The core of the children's museum, which was created by the American agency Olson Kundig Architecture and Design, is a seven-meter tall wooden structure with a diameter of 28 meters. The ring-shaped construction is reminiscent of a Mesopotamian ark – and it also looks a little like a spaceship. It combines the future and the past, and inspires us to reinterpret the story of the flood and the ark in the new context of current social and ecological questions.
Children as co-designers
At ANOHA, children are invited to take part in the animals' journey, and to playfully translate the story of Noah's ark into the present, developing it further. You have the opportunity to explore the exhibition on your own, and to discover, feed, and care for the over 150 large and small animals there. Climb onto a boa constrictor or be slothful in a sloth's nest – there are so many new perspectives to try. At ANOHA, you can experience the world from an owl's-eye-view, the nose of a rat, or with a hamster's whiskers. Everyone is different and together we are strong!
A children's advisory council for ANOHA
Children were involved in the planning of the new museum from the beginning. A children's advisory council, made up of 20 children ages six to twelve from six Berlin grade schools, met every month at the Jewish Museum Berlin beginning in the 2017/2018 school year. The young members are co-curators of some areas of the exhibition, and they test the planned installations. In day-long workshops, they have the opportunity to express, develop, and design their desires and ideas for the children's museum. The children’s council was also involved in finding the new name for the children's museum – ANOHA!
Further information on the children's museum can be found on our project website.