Many federal states have included the topics "dying and death" in the curricula for all school types and for many class levels as an integral part of religious education and ethics teaching. In this context, the Museum for Sepulchral Culture with its guided tours for school classes or children is an excellent place to illustrate the contents of the lessons. Whether in connection with literature, religious education, discussions with the media or other occasions, questions about dying and death are omnipresent for children and adolescents, but in their many forms and references they are often difficult to answer. Different concepts of transcendence and dealing with death in other cultures have become increasingly important, especially in our multicultural society.
The guided tours are suitable for pupils of all ages and school types and can be used as an introduction to the subject of death and dying or to illustrate and deepen the contents of the lessons.
In addition, school classes who wish to take part in school competitions will find an open-minded cooperation partner in the Museum for Sepulcal Culture.
Primary school classes who cannot attend the museum can borrow the museum case "forget-me-not". This didactic material collection is not only available in Kassel, but also in other German cities.
Academic staff are available to answer any didactic questions you may have and will be happy to advise trainees on researching exam papers. We are happy to make our didactics room available for you to discuss what you have experienced.
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
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.
For optimal working conditions, groups of 15 children would be desirable. For larger groups, a second guided tour should therefore be considered.
Since the materials for the workshops are provided by the museum, a surcharge is levied per pupil according to the material costs.
This guided tour with workshop is especially aimed at primary schools.
Together, pirate hats and eye patches are made, with which the group then sets off on a discovery tour through the museum. They learn curiosities and interesting facts about the history of piracy and the bones and skulls found on coffins and gravestones everywhere. Historical memento mori objects often have skeletal decorations or skulls to commemorate mortality and an appropriate life. The Mexican funeral feast also commemorates the deceased with numerous colourful death masks. But: Pirates are not buried everywhere where skulls and bones cross. During the tour the children playfully receive a "buccaneer's letter", for which they first have to learn what skeleton, hourglass or bow and arrow meant in buccaneering and how people were buried at sea. After all, not all teachers certainly know that bows and arrows are supposed to symbolize sudden death. The tour through the museum thus becomes a discovery tour during which surprising meanings turn the exhibits into exciting stories.
The guided tour with workshop is aimed in particular at primary schools.
People all over the world believe that the soul wanders into the afterlife after death. Some call this other world "heaven", some "underworld" or "shadow kingdom" and others "the eternal hunting grounds". But what happens to the souls that don't make it there? Those – so some fear – may come back as spirits. On a tour of the museum, the pupils learn how some people imagine spirits of the dead, what magic power was attributed to their possessions and how they tried to render the frightened creatures harmless. For example, the representation of the ghost as a white sheet comes from the fact that the deceased wore wide white shrouds at the funeral, which can also be viewed in the museum. Also many other objects in the collection once belonged to persons who have now died, but of whom nobody has to be afraid. During the guided tour, the children playfully receive a "ghost hunter certificate" that brings a little light into the imprecise fear of death.
This guided tour with workshop is aimed at higher primary school classes, as good reading skills are required.
The tour revolves around the secret of the Mexican sugar skull or Calavera de Azúcar, as it is called in Mexico. The traditional dessert has become famous above all through the annual Diá de los Muertos. But there is much more behind it, because the representation of skeletons and skulls serves almost all over the world as a memento mori and is supposed to remind of one's own mortality. On a discovery tour through the museum, the pupils follow the American archaeologist Prof. Dr. Henry Walten Jones Jr., whom most people know as the film character Indiana Jones. On his trail, they learn about the secret of the Mexican sugar skull and learn a great deal about the Mexican cult of the dead, the Mayan culture and the customs of the Aztecs. The permanent exhibition also includes a Mexican Ofrenda with objects used for funerals and memorial ceremonies, including the sugar skulls.
Marzipan, sugar pearls and sprinkles are of course also used to model, decorate and eat own sugar skulls or to take them home.
The artists' necropolis lies on the edge of Kassel, in the Habichtswald forest, surrounded by hills, gorges and ditches. In the early 1980s, the artist Harry Kramer had the idea of making it possible for selected artists to build their own graves there during their lifetime. Some of them already house the urns of their creators and some expect to surrender themselves and nature to their arrival. Pupils find a special situation in the artists' necropolis. The introduction to the themes of "death" and "remembrance", which are on the curriculum of religious and ethics lessons in many schools, is made easier, and the excursion offers the opportunity to organise outdoor lessons directly on the subject. Perhaps, however, individual artists will also be treated in art lessons, or the form of the landscape and natural grave itself will fit in well with the lessons. The focus of the hiking day is on the grave signs and we are happy to customise the aspect under which they are to be approached. Teachers can also take part in the advanced training for the necropolis in advance and thus provide the pupils with impulses and material for the planned hiking day.
The main cemetery in the northern part of Kassel is an important testimony to the history of Kassel and probably one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the region.
So there are several reasons for an excursion with the school class: The subject of the lesson is moved directly to the places and objects that are discussed in the classroom, and the pupils can acquire their accesses and impressions themselves. From the 1840s to the present day, the cemetery has not only accompanied the history of the city of Kassel, but also two world wars and the fates of many citizens. Since the post-war years, for example, a military cemetery and a cemetery for foreigners have been part of the huge complex and bear impressive witness to contemporary events, values and norms. The many artistically and emotionally designed gravestones provide a very direct and personal approach to the themes of death and remembrance and to the history of the city.
Heroes are characterized by special deeds. In addition to the popular names from history and fiction, there are also names that have perhaps only become meritorious and famous in their region.
Kassel also has a whole range of monuments and honorary monuments. From stumbling blocks to rather inconspicuous plaques on houses and squares to the prominently placed statue of the Brothers Grimm or the Friedrichsdenkmal (Frederick's Monument) in the middle of the city centre, the city and its surroundings are teeming with memorials. But who they were, how and to whom they became so important that the desire for a special memorial arises or what they and their death have in common with the city of Kassel, the best way for the pupils to find out is during a double-hour tour of the city. Material for the preparatory and follow-up lessons can also be worked out together or provided by our staff.
Children and death are still a taboo topic in society. This can be seen from the fact that there is little debate or research on this difficult topic.
Whether it is that a beloved pet dies or a valuable person leaves the child's environment or it comes into contact with dying through the media: When the time comes, it is important to be prepared for questions and fears as an adult.
We therefore offer project days on various aspects of saying goodbye in order to prepare parents and education officers for dealing with grieving children and those confronted with death.
Ideally, children or youth groups take part in the three-day project programme together with their parents or educators. In the museum, crematorium, cemetery or artist's necropolis, accompanied by our experts, you can then deal with the topics of dying, death, burial, mourning and remembrance or choose only some of these five aspects as the content of a single project day. If you would like to put together an individual programme beforehand, simply contact us.
200€ per day á 6 hours
You can book 1, 2 or 3 days.
In many cases, the basic prerequisite for admission to student competitions is cooperation with a museum. The Museum for Sepulchral Culture welcomes the forms of cooperation and offers the following possibilities within the framework of a joint competition:
If you and your school class want to deal with the museum's exhibitions in class or if individual objects and themes in them fit into your current lessons, the advanced training offers suitable preparation directly in the exhibition. Our staff will support you with your research and offer impulses and expertise for lessons at school. Our training programme includes training on current special exhibitions, on the artists' necropolis and on the Kassel main cemetery. In the training courses you will receive teaching examples and teaching material. As an educator in a children's group, you can also take part in further training courses and have them certified.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.
Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur
Museum für Sepulkralkultur
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0