It’s noisy this year at the Nuremberg Toy Museum. Visitors can only enter through a makeshift entrance. The ground floor is locked. Construction workers pull cables, lay new floors, drill holes. It is being rebuilt.
Such measures require a separate approach. The requests of the museum management and the scenographers meet what is technically feasible. Exhibition concepts, lighting and visitor orientation must be sustainable. But ventilation, power, water connections and more also pose challenges for those involved. If the exhibition is to remain open during the renovation, this should also be carefully prepared.
In Nuremberg, the museum management, an architectural office responsible for the scenography and the building department work together. The office is responsible for renovations including architectural planning: new windows, floors, ceilings, ventilation, etc.
Everything should be brighter, more user-friendly, with a new concept, says museum director Karin Falkenberg: “Toys must be presented in connection with society and its issues, because toys interact with the world. On the ground floor, she shows how toys explain the world and make it understandable.
“We need an emotional dramaturgy”
Johanna Sunder-Plassmann, scenographer at the Sunder-Plassmann & Werner scenography office in Hamburg, planned the interior design: “This includes the interior design as well as the graphics of the exhibition, the lighting and the arrangement of the objects. exposed.
There she saw a need for action. Because until now the objects were classified according to criteria of collectors, for example according to the material. This is no longer in tune with the times, explains Sunder-Plassmann: “You need emotional dramaturgy and an eye-catcher per floor for the eye.
Open detailed view
Shortly after the moon landing, toy astronauts also landed in children’s rooms. And at the museum.
(Photo: Daniel Karmann / picture alliance / dpa)
She was unable to enforce all ideas. “We would have preferred a wooden floor, but this was not possible for technical reasons”, she gives as an example.
The museum management and the scenographers also reached their limits with the ceiling. They would have liked to have more height here. Below, however, cables are pulled, noise protection inserted, light rails integrated, explains Andrea Seitz, head of the Culture department of the Building department: “The height could not be changed, so we had to design the parts. so that they always look big and shiny. “
To achieve this, it was time to build the structure. Many walls have been carved into the courtyard. Now there is a 4.2 meter wide, ceiling-to-ceiling window facade with a hinged door. As a rule, the structures do not accept such interventions without further delay. “We had to intervene in the statics, a structural engineer calculated where and how we could open the facade”, explains Seitz.
It was clear from the start that the museum should continue to operate during the months of construction, explains Falkenberg: “We have 120,000 visitors a year, so we can’t just close.
It was therefore necessary to find a plan so that visitors could enter the museum during the construction of the current foyer. Many discussions were necessary, explains Falkenberg: “We opened a passage in the adjoining building, laid cables for electricity and internet, removed the reception desk and rebuilt it elsewhere, and developed a system. interim control.
The building department had a walkway built with a roof and other temporary fittings, and changed a balustrade. Special attention was paid to the entrances, explains Seitz: “The emergency exits must continue to function.
A restriction could not be avoided. The elevator is not accessible. Strollers and wheelchairs must be kept outside. “Unfortunately, if you can’t walk, you can’t go in right now,” regrets Falkenberg.
What about the alarm system?
Plus, she thought of a special group of visitors. Wooden toys were previously on the ground floor. And it has fans. “So that it doesn’t mean that my favorite toy is not there, we have distributed the most important exhibits on other floors,” explains Falkenberg. The rest, at least ten boxes, went to the depot.
Once the interim arrangements were in place, the next step followed: the house was divided into a construction site and a reception area. So that the workers could act freely, the entrances to the main staircase were barricaded with beams, explains Falkenberg: “It’s like in the Middle Ages.
Open detailed view
A special exhibition in 2004 was devoted to the theme “Don’t get angry”. The photo shows the oldest of these games from 1915.
(Photo: Peter Roggenthin / dpa / dpaweb)
Just as tourists are kept away, workers must enter unimpeded. It is important to have an eye for details. For example, the alarm system should not be triggered when the craftsman opens the site door.
Dust protection walls should keep dirt out of display. But it only worked to a limited extent, reports Falkenberg: “We had to keep cleaning the windows.” But not only that: when the jackhammer worked, the building vibrated. The dolls’ dishes slammed, the figures toppled over. “In the evening, when the construction workers were gone, we went through there and put everything back together,” says Falkenberg.
Completely decoupling the exhibition from the works does not work. Some visitors have complained, mainly about noise. But with projects like this, you can’t tell craftspeople they’re only allowed to work hard between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., says Seitz: Also has priority. morale of annoyed visitors and noisy team.
The town planners did it relatively well because only the 17th century facade is listed. The building behind dates from the 1960s and has therefore been allowed to be renovated and rebuilt without restrictions.
Historic buildings can also be renovated
It is often different. Many museums are located in historic buildings. But this should not be an obstacle, on the contrary, as Andreas Hensen, director of the Lobdengau Museum in Ladenburg, learned. The museum is housed in the former listed episcopal court. In order to save space for special exhibitions, he integrated an old apartment in the same building in the museum. “I was not sure that installing a modern ceiling lighting system would meet the preservation requirements of historic monuments, but that was not a problem,” explains the museum director.
On the contrary, the renovations have even met the preservation of historical monuments. “A connection between two rooms that once existed and were walled up in the last century has been reopened,” Hensen explains.
Construction work does not always take place during ongoing operations. The Munich Alpine Museum closed its doors until mid-2023. “From the start it was clear that the measures would be too expensive,” says Friederike Kaiser, head of the Culture Division of the German Alpine Association. The walls then retracted stand out, the foundation walls remain in place. “The environmentalists liked it, but we have to design the entrance area differently than we expected,” says Kaiser.
It was also clear that the options were limited. The exhibitions will gain 200 square meters, the library and the living room will have 120 square meters. “For this, the collection depot and archives were outsourced,” Kaiser explains.
In Nuremberg, the ground floor has recently been reopened to visitors. The new concept for the other three floors is ready. Sunder-Plassmann has already drawn up plans: to force the opening of the walled-up windows, to remove the attic to gain height, to replace the 30-year-old carpets. Everything is operational again. But visitors won’t be restricted anytime soon. Because the renovations of the ground floor, including the new air conditioning, cost 500,000 euros, specifies Falkenberg: “For the moment, we have no money for the next step.