Thing of the Month December 2016
Teaching Kit "Light Metals"
This exhibit is an acquisition in the context of the current special exhibition Object Lessons. The Story of Material Education in 8 Chapters. Around 1900, German publishers who issued textbooks also specialized in the production of teaching kits, globes and wall maps. Large numbers of such teaching kits from Räths Technologische Sammlungen or from Eugen Emdes Werkstätten für plastische Lehrmittel were manufactured for school lessons, vocational education or museums. Inside these cases, not only a single material is presented, but also its extraction, processing and residue utilization. Contrary to the ideal of a comprehensive education with tangible materials, the objects are now behind glass: similar to a museum, sensual perception is reduced to a merely visual level. This paradox of material education without material experience is presumably the reason why this type of teaching kit has vanished from the classroom: since the 1970s, these old-fashioned educational tools have been gathering dust in schools’ aisles or depots.