The art of darkness: Frankfurt’s Dialog Museum celebrates its fifth birthday
Tuesday 21, December 2010
Frankfurt is known around the world for its magnificent museum landscape. The cultural metropolis on the Main is home to an excellent variety of exhibition venues, including the world- famous Städel Museum, Schirn Kunsthalle and the Museum of Modern Art, which in 2011 will be celebrating its 20th year of existence.
At the Frankfurt Museum Embankment, numerous museums stand side by side, forming a unique architectural ensemble scenically set on the riverside. Here, not every museum visitor is necessarily an art enthusiast. Some Frankfurt museums place the focus of attention on things other than the old masters or modern art installations.
At the Frankfurt Dialogue Museum, for example, there’s nothing to see at all. The main exhibition, entitled “Dialogue in the Dark”, takes visitors through a pitch-black museum with the help of guides and white canes. The highly unusual tour is guaranteed to leave an impression on the mind. In fact, having concluded the tour, more than half of the museum’s visitors stated that they now had a much better understanding of what it must be like to suffer from blindness or impaired vision. The museum also features a blacked-out restaurant, named “Taste of Darkness”, and a “Casino for Communication”, which raises awareness by way of various team-games. Both are available for booking for incentive programmes. The Dialogue Museum, which continues to be privately operated, first opened its doors to the public five years ago. Today, it is an integral part of Frankfurt’s museum landscape. In 2010, the museum received the Frankfurt Tourism Award for its unique concept. Next year, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 coming to Frankfurt, the Dialogue Museum will once again be attracting football enthusiasts with its popular “blind penalty shootout”.
An equally interactive exhibition will continue to be on display at the Museum of Communication until 24th June 2011. “Dialogue in Silence” shows museum visitors what it is like to be deaf. Wearing soundproof headphones, they dive into a world devoid of sound. A one-hour tour gives participants some idea of how to communicate without the use of the spoken word.
Frankfurt has many other museums of the non-art variety. The German Film Museum, for example, will be reopening its doors in Spring 2011, having undergone extensive renovation and reconstruction. The House of Bible will be doing likewise at the start of 2011. Amateur craftsmen will most likely find the Hammer Museum to their liking, while the Money Museum of the German Bundesbank is sure to attract all those interested in monetary-related subject matter. Youngsters are bound to enjoy the frankfurt children’s museum and the Shock-haired Peter Museum, the latter focusing on the famous children’s book, which was written in Frankfurt, and its many much-loved characters. The popular EXPLORA Science and Technology Museum, meanwhile, is a hands-on museum where visitors have the opportunity to experience physical phenomena while marvelling at three-dimensional works of art.
For a limited time, art will also be on display at the Dialogue Museum. With parts of the Städel Museum closed for reconstruction, some works have been temporarily relocated to the Dialogue Museum, where they may be viewed in total darkness. How is this possible? Simple. Museum visitors are given a verbal description of the painting and the artist – and the imagination does the rest!
As you can see, Frankfurt – the city of art and museums – is also interesting in the dark! www.dialogmuseum.de
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