The Bode-Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island is serving as an experimental space through 2021. A museum education laboratory inside the Bode-Museum, a national training programme at twenty-three museums, and accompanying public discussion programmes all serve to demonstrate what constitutes education work in museums and what it can achieve. lab.Bode – Initiative to Strengthen Museum Education is a joint programme of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
lab.Bode works closely with nine partner schools from different parts of Berlin. Together with pupils and teachers, lab.Bode is developing and testing different approaches to museum education over a period of four years. In the museum, the initiative is researching, trying out, questioning, and commenting on these methods in cooperation with educators, artists, and experts. Since the summer of 2018 all Berlin schools have been welcome to take part in free project days in the education laboratory as well.
Education Spaces in the Bode-Museum
Since 2016, the museum has undergone noticeable changes. Four exhibition halls within the collection presentation were transformed into education spaces by raumlabor berlin. The designated “Denkraum” (Space for Ideas), “Freiraum” (Free Space), and “Plattform” (Platform) are used by the various lab.Bode stakeholders. The laboratory spaces are open to all visitors, who are invited to inform themselves, ask questions, leave comments, do research on topics surrounding the education programmes or the collection, discuss, reflect, and relax.
National Academic Trainee Programme
Through 2020, lab.Bode is supporting twenty-three research traineeships in the field of education and outreach. The trainees work at the twenty-three partner museums, take part in a training programme developed by lab.Bode, observe school workshops at the Bode-Museum, and then subsequently carry out their own school projects at their respective institutions. The aim of the training programme is to enhance the position and value of museum education, professionalise the field, and create specialized networks.
lab.Bode invites education and outreach experts, museum specialists and staff, artists, school directors, teachers, university students, museum visitors, and the interested public to take part in regular, free discussion events. Here, current approaches, theories, and perspectives are explored in a professional dialogue. Speakers from the field of museum work, research, and (cultural) education offer new sources of inspiration and discuss their different approaches with the audience in talks as well as workshops.
Throughout 2020, the projects, concepts, and methods developed by lab.Bode are being compiled in a digital toolbox system, which can be accessed and used by stakeholders in cultural education at any time and free of charge.
The lab.Bode team works together with staff members of the Bode-Museum, the Education, Outreach, and Visitor Services Department of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, as well as experts in the field, and other museums to carry out the programme. Important partners for the initiative also include the Bundesakademie für Kulturelle Bildung Wolfenbüttel, the German Museums Association, and the Berliner Senate Department for Education, Youth, and Family.