A central concern of the project is to promote a debate between young people who have been socialized in different cultures with different religions. In April 2018, the Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer, aged 96, spoke to around 400 people in our museum. Among them were many young people who actually sat at her feet because there were no chairs left. Mrs. Friedländer ended with the following words: "There is no Jewish, Christian or Muslim blood. There is only human blood." In addition, she urgently told the young people that they had now received the baton from her to continue talking about the past injustice and to ensure that our society remains one that lives the mutual respect of cultures and religions. After her reading, she patiently answered the questions of the young people, who at the end of the event thanked Mrs. Friedländer with tears. This event once again made it clear to us in all clarity what opportunities a cultural institution like ours has to have a positive effect on society. With the project "Museum Suitcase: Intercultural Aspects of Death and Dying" we would like to contribute to the creation of a mutual appreciation that knows no hierarchies through the encounter, discourse and cooperation of different cultures. Our vision is that these young people will start talking about the cultural difference of rituals in the context of dying, so that in the end they will experience that behind the diversity of sepulcral culture lies the unity of human needs.
Adressing young people with an intercultural discourse
A glance at the school curriculum shows that dealing with the topics of "death", "dying" and "mourning" has great social relevance. Almost all German states have included the topic in their curricula for all school types and grades. The Museum for Sepulchral Culture has long since promoted this development and supports teachers in the context of further training and didactic offers: not only in Kassel, but nationwide; also with the museum case "Forget-me-not". In 2006, the museum case "Forget-me-not" was presented to the public within the framework of a teacher training course. At that time it was not yet foreseeable that the small, colorful coffin with its extensive didactic material would develop into a success story. By now, the museum case "Forget-me-not" is available in over 30 cities nationwide for elementary school and daycare centers. In the vicinity of these locations, there is now the opportunity to introduce children between the ages of 5 and 11 to the topics of "death", "dying", "burial", "mourning" and "remembrance" in a playful manner. The didactic unit helps to reduce fears, offers help in crisis management and teaches important social skills such as empathy and mourning. Although the museum suitcase was not expressly designed for this purpose, it has proven its worth in crisis situations and is therefore used by institutions that have to teach children about the death of important caregivers. The working materials and tasks of the museum suitcase "Forget-me-not" are adapted to the cognitive, linguistic, emotional and motor developmental level of primary school children. This material is no longer suitable for young adolescents because this age group is in a phase of self-discovery and reorientation. Against this background, young people usually deal intensively with questions of meaning and thus with death itself and their own mortality. Accordingly, contents and methods of teaching the finiteness problem must be adapted to the interests and abilities of this age group (11 to 14 years).
As an interactive offer in the field of intercultural education, the museum case is intended to contribute to the acquisition of socially valuable action skills for young people to better cope with situations that all people inevitably will face.
A prerequisite for this is the imparting of knowledge that is as diverse as possible, combined with methods for the practical use and application of the technical content learned. Thus, the museum suitcase is not only intended to convey factual knowledge on the topics of "death", "dying", "burial", "mourning" and "remembrance", which are illustrated in the Museum for Sepulchral Culture. Rather, it is intended to teach young people how to deal with dying and death as part of our cultural, social and religious life and to familiarize them with traditional and modern manifestations of the culture of remembrance and mourning rituals.
Another important goal is to support the young people in developing a personal understanding of death and an adequate awareness of finiteness. Empathy and acceptance of feelings, affects and moods in connection with farewells and experiences of loss should be strengthened. As with the museum case "Forget-me-not", the material is intended to offer cautious assistance in dealing with death and mourning, i.e. to provide support in crises and suggestions for coping with them.
Just like the "Forget-me-not" museum case, the museum case to be designed is also intended to make accessible the themes that the Museum for Sepulchral Culture conveys through its exhibitions. The offer is not exclusively intended for schools that are not able to visit the museum due to their distance to the museum or for other reasons. It is also aimed at municipal and denominational youth institutions as well as extracurricular institutions and independent organizations in the field of youth work and cultural education. It is important to remember that the target group is not a group with a homogeneous cultural-religious background. This is precisely the particular area of conflict that we would like to address.
The equipment of the museum suitcase should enable the young people to independently explore sepulcral topics, which they are introduced to in the school environment and which they encounter in everyday life. The museum suitcase is therefore more than just an individual project in the field of intercultural education, which can be repeated on different occasions or adopted in its structure. Rather, its contents should make it possible for different projects to be carried out one after the other or by several groups at the same time – whether in the context of project weeks at schools or in independent educational institutions.
Individual projects, to which the museum case encourages, also aim at the cooperation of different project partners in extracurricular learning fields. The school classes or youth groups are to get to know social areas and fields of work through direct experience and thus acquire the appropriate skills to act.
Death in Abstract
Death as Experience
The materials and assignments should be suitable for both classroom and out-of-school projects. The museum suitcases and equipment, apart from consumables, must be made in such a way that they survive the numerous assignments without damage.
The outward appearance should encourage curiosity about the topics and convey that natural fears and reservations can be overcome. For example, one could take up references to death motifs from youth fashion and pop culture. The appearance should definitely be developed together with the young people.
Variety of Materials
The variety of materials to be used provides the basic prerequisite for the interdisciplinary use of the museum case and will therefore be decisive for the acceptance of the didactic unity. Media units from the fields of literature (fiction, poetry, reportage), visual arts, performing arts, music, film, photography and Internet culture are conceivable. In addition, utensils for role-plays and original objects from funeral culture should also be included in the suitcase.
The manual to be created will contain didactically prepared explanations, tasks and background information that will serve to prepare the content for the teachers.
Central publications should be included as a supplement to the handbook in terms of content, in order to offer teachers a diverse selection of entry level opportunities.
A questionnaire will be developed to evaluate the museum case, which will serve as a suggestion for the optimization of the didactic materials. It will be an essential part of the museum suitcase.
The project is supported by
The museum suitcase "forget-me-not" is a didactic teaching package on the subject "dying and death, burying, mourning and remembering" for children from 5 to 12 years. A mobile participatory exhibition for preschool and primary school children, which can also be used very well, for example, in confirmation lessons or for other teaching groups. The children are introduced to the subject of transience in a playful way with the suitcase, which they can unpack and explore themselves. The aim is to reduce fears, offer help in crisis management and learn important social skills, such as the ability to put oneself in others' shoes or the ability to grieve.
Pictures, worksheets, objects, films and pieces of music provide an introduction to the subject. Stethoscopes, feathers and flashlights illuminate death from the medical side. And because fears of contact with the subject can be overcome more easily through playful elements, a funeral can be replayed as a role-play with make-up, sunglasses and a black lady's hat with a veil.
Bund deutscher Friedhofsgärtner im Zentralverband Gartenbau e.V., Kuratorium Deutsche Bestattungskultur e. V., Bundesinnungsverband des Deutschen Steinmetz, Stein- und Holzbildhauerhandwerks, Verband der Friedhofsverwalter Deutschlands e. V.
The rental of the museum suitcase "Forget-me-not" is possible only in Germany with our museum suitcase sponsors. The stations are arranged according to the federal states Schleswig Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Thuringia, Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria:
Mecklenburg Western Pomerania
Ambulanter Kinderhospizdienst OSKAR
Treuhandstelle für Dauergrabpflege Niedersachsen/Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH
Telefon: 0511/32 67 11
Fax: 0511/36 32 566
Religionspädagogische Arbeitsstelle/Diözesanmedienstelle Osnabrück
Große Domsfreiheit 5/6
Telefon: 0541/318 208
Telefax: 0541/318 455
KF Krematorium und Friedhofsgärtnerei GmbH
Tannnenhecker Weg 6
Ansprechpartner: Torsten Schütz
Telefon: 0561/98 39 5-0 oder
Telefon: 0561/98 39 5-57
Fax: 0561/98 35 0-77
Evangelische Gemeinschaftsstiftung des Kirchenkreises
Gladbeck – Bottrop – Dorsten
Haus der Evangelischen Kirche
Evangelische Frauenreferentin und Kulturbeauftragte
Erzdiözese München und Freising (KdöR)
Fachstelle 5. MD - Medien und Digitalität
Telefon: 089 / 2137 2450
Fax: 089 / 2137 1557
regular 2 weeks: 100€
reduced 2 weeks: 50€
extension per week 15€ each
plus 0,52 Euro insurance per day and 50,- deposit at pickup
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.
Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur
Museum für Sepulkralkultur
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0