In this part of the online exhibition you will find the room texts of the annual exhibition. This is to ensure that non-German-speaking visitors also have the opportunity to obtain the information in the exhibition.

In diesem Teil der Online-Ausstellung finden Sie die Raumtexte der Jahresausstellung. Damit soll sichergestellt werden, dass auch nicht-deutschsprachige Besucher:innen die Möglichkeit haben, sich in der Ausstellung zu informieren.

Room 1

How is an insect body constructed? What is a fire extinguisher made of? How does a plant grow? Where is the liver located in the human body? What does a turtle shell feel like? What does the sales price of a of a T-shirt consist of? And how many inhabitants live in live in the city of Halle?

Whether huge or tiny, extremely fast or infinitely slow, unmanageable or complicated, rare or invisible: sometimes words alone are not enough to explain something and make it understandable. Visualisation allows us to get an idea of something, to maintain an overview to grasp the barely perceptible and to better understand complex relationships. It draws attention to what is important, facilitates learning and promotes memory - especially when it appeals to our senses and we can become active ourselves. Various visualisation strategies help our perception and understanding. For example, you can disassemble something, build a simple model, speed up or slow down a process, compare things with each other, sketch something or simply change the perspective. Which strategy is most suitable depends not only on the phenomenon to be visualised and the the respective learning situation, but also on ourselves.

Room 2

Around 1600, a paradigm shift began in science. The search for knowledge through empiricism (sensory experience) became the standard scientific method. The exploration of nature and its laws with the central application of the human senses became increasingly important. In contrast, medieval scholasticism with its intensive recourse to the knowledge of antiquity lost influence. This also fundamentally changed didactics in schools. In the knowledge transfer, »realia lessons« - science, geography, technology, history geography, technology and history - were given a lot of space, with models and pictures, but also experiments and technical demonstrations played an important role. The sensory visualisation and encouraging the children to work independently became a central element of education.

But the ideas of the educational reformers went beyond purely school-based education. The aim of the innovations was to improve the education of all members of society. These reforms were to be state academies and societies, which were to be specifically focussed on and visual education. This was to be supported by a new scientific infrastructure in these consisting of natural history, scientific and  technical collections, botanical gardens, astronomical observatories, anatomy cabinets and libraries. In addition craftsmanship and technology were upgraded as disciplines worth knowing, universities were criticised for their canon of knowledge based on antiquity. While the new, descriptive didactics were able to establish themselves in schools at least temporarily, these are only the beginnings of a didactic setting that appeals to the senses.


Room 3

Models enjoyed increasing popularity in the early modern period. In the 17th century, royal houses, wealthy cities and important master builders created their first collections of models of engineering, architecture and fortress construction. The objects collected there were often masterpieces by craftsmen or designs for new buildings new buildings, mills and waterworks. As clear representatives models were ideally suited to making complex ideas and structures and structures understandable to laypeople. That's why it was used early on for educational purposes.

In 1707, the preacher Christoph Semler (1669-1740) opened the first secondary school in Germany to prepare boys from mostly poor backgrounds for an apprenticeship in a trade and to educate them in Christian wisdom. For this purpose, he created an extensive collection of models with the aim of teaching the basics of maths, science, economics and technology in a practical and clear way. As Semler had to close the school after just a few years, he donated his models to the to the orphanage. Commissioned by August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), further models were soon created under Semler's direction, models depicting biblical places and astronomical theories. The collection, which was open to the public, was used for the education of children and adults alike. The Cabinet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities of the Francke Foundations houses many of these models from the first half of the 18th century.

Room 4

Around 1700, a few voices were raised in favour of a general motor dexterity and various manual skills, especially in schools. August Hermann Francke (1663–1727) was also of the opinion that the manual use of tools and materials not only enriches lessons, but also imparts knowledge and skills for a godly life for the benefit of others. Craft activities also provided plenty opportunities for useful and moderate exercise and recreation - i.e. meaningful physical exercise for mental recuperation.

Soon after its foundation Francke introduced an early form of handicraft lessons in the schools of the orphanage in Glaucha. The special focus was on the Royal Pädagogium with its own workrooms. As part of the recreational lessons, considerable effort was put into woodturning, grinding optical lenses and working with paper and cardboard in the »Papp-Fabric«. The highlight of these lessons were optical machines and, in particular, telescopes, for which the pupils for which the pupils made the necessary parts themselves in several steps. In an interdisciplinary manner, the functioning instruments were used in astronomy lessons. In addition the pupils visited local craftsmen. In order to fulfil the requirements of a proper education and training of the pupils from good families, the pupils were also taught courtly table manners, the correct carving of meat dishes and the art of folding napkins.


Room 5

For astronomy and optics around 1700, the practical application of mathematical knowledge as well as precise observation, experimentation and measurement with the aid of quadrants, telescopes, microscopes or the camera obscura were of central importance. From the middle of the 17th century, such instruments were also used for demonstration purposes in experimental lectures at academies and universities. Protestant universities in particular were pioneers in this field. Illustrated textbooks provided instructions for the experiments, which also which also contained the tools and equipment developed for this purpose. In many places, elevated viewing platforms and observatories were set up in order to observe the night sky undisturbed. 

Only half a century later, the still young practice of instrumental nature research on an empirical basis also found its way into the the Glaucha Institutes. The study of astronomical and optical phenomena was part of the so-called recreational lessons at the Royal Paedagogium, which combined recreation with practical and useful activities. Pupils observed the stars with telescopes, some of which they built themselves. The solar system was visualised for them with the help of models and lenses, prisms and focal mirrors were available for optical experiments. In addition, gnomonics - the science of making sundials - also played an important role in the age of wheel clocks. In the 18th century, sundials were still indispensable to orientate oneself in the course of the day and the year and to keep the still inaccurate mechanical movements.

Room 6

The Glauchaschen Anstalten were a self-contained cosmos of different educational establishments with their own supply and infrastructure. They were located just outside the gates of Halle and had their structural origins in the orphanage building, opened in 1701, which housed a school for the poor and children from the middle class. At the eastern end of the site was the school building of the Royal Paedagogium, opened in 1713, where the sons of the nobility and the upper middle classes were taught for school fees. In between, in addition to commercial enterprises to provide for the many people in the institutions, there were other educational institutions such as the girls' school, the library and the botanical garden.

Room 7

The illustrative teaching practice that Christoph Semler and August Hermann Francke introduced in their schools over 300 years ago is still relevant today. It makes it easier for us to understand the world. Photography, film and sound recording have been added over time. The omnipresent digitalization has now created a completely new world of learning. Digital tools, virtual spaces and artificial intelligence make knowledge easily available regardless of location and expand the forms and experiences of visualisation to an unimagined extent. Haptic impressions, the literal »understanding of things«, seem to be fading into the background. This raises a fundamental question for our knowledge of the world: will physical models, which make it possible to visualise things, become redundant? Or do they continue to form an important basis for learning and truly understanding? Do we need to rediscover visualisation? The final room of the exhibition aims to encourage us to approach this question openly approach this question.


Innenansicht eines Modells eines Fachwerkhauses




Exhibition texts