Modellsammlungen um 1800
Ducal Museum, Gotha
– 27 October 2018
The exhibition “Gotha vorbildlich!” [Model Gotha] is the place to find out all about how knowledge was disseminated around 1800, in the age of Enlightenment, and how it was given an aesthetic form. On display are countless examples of educational models covering a range of different subjects, dating from antiquity all the way through to the present day.
The Enlightenment was marked by a “thirst for knowledge and the idea of progress” and brought myriad innovations with it, especially in terms of knowledge transfer. These are now showcased at the Ducal Museum in Gotha, which is renowned for its wealth of ancient, Chinese, and Japanese art.
The focus here is not only on the knowledge imparted, but on the means by which this was achieved, with the deliberate development of models that make knowledge comprehensible and tangible. These models are notable for their “clarity, practicality, and rationality”. In order to do justice to the plethora of educational models, the exhibition gives visitors an insight into different fields of knowledge, such as art, literature, and science. As well as demonstrating the way in which the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie received their education, it also looks at the use of specific materials to give knowledge a tangible component alongside its intellectual dimension, which extended to playful learning models for children. One example is the model of a wooden oil mill from the mid-17th century, owned by the Gotha art chamber itself, which was used for teaching purposes and was first included on an inventory list in 1658.
“Gotha vorbildlich!” shows not only models and inventions from antiquity, but also contemporary exhibits in the form of film footage, digitised archaeological data from 2018, and a virtual model of a dinosaur skeleton.