In a museum exhibitions are shown. Therefor you need objects, paintings and other stuff.
Do you know that the objects are inspiring? Young museum visitors are invited to create as part of our educational program “Museum Stories” stories about what is going on at night or in the summer holidays. Are the objects always in the museum or are they going out as well?
“How to find friends”
One evening, around the time when it is neither light nor dark, a ring ran away from the Jewish Museum. Maybe the ring had felt bored or it just wanted to get some fresh air. It had spent many years in the showcase – nothing to do, nothing exciting going on, always the same, very boring. So, the ring decided to jump out of the showcase, which it opened from the inside, and simply walked away. At the time, the alarm system had also not been working, which meant that nobody noticed that the ring had gone. Only someone taking a very close look could have noticed the missing ring. The ring was is not very big — it is just an ordinary ring. No, that’s not quite true, either. It is a ring depicting a little house, a ring that is used at Jewish weddings. It shows a house because the couple that is getting married will live together under one roof.
On another evening, this time it was really dark and late, a crown left the museum. This crown was quite large and made of silver. It left the museum to have an ice cream, something it had wanted to do for a long time. Of course, its absence was immediately noticed the following morning. So, the police were called, but even they could not find the crown. Let’s be honest, who is going to look for a crown in an ice cream parlor?
A little bit later, a candlestick escaped – it was one of those that could hold nine candles and is traditionally used at Hanukkah. This particular candlestick had been feeling so bored at the museum that it could not stand it anymore. It had held no candles for the last 15 years and had already forgotten what Hanukkah was like. So, the next day, it left the museum – once again, nobody even noticed - and went into a candle shop where it bought nine candles. It lit all of them at once. This might have been a little too much for it after so many years because it started running through the 1st District shouting,” I am hot! I am so hot! Help me! I am burning hot!” This did not go unnoticed and the police came running immediately. Well, not actually running. They came in three big cars. It is an interesting fact that every time something entertaining or strange happens, the police come running. The policemen blew out the candles and the candlestick went back to the museum.
By now, all the exhibits at the museum had realized that it was pretty easy to get out of the museum. The security system would only react if somebody tried to steal something or did something that was forbidden. However, the exhibits live in the museum, it is their home and when you are at home the alarm is usually not switched on.
The next fugitive was a very clever one: it thought that the best place for it to hide would be St. Stephen’s Cathedral because nobody would go looking for a plate that is usually used at Jewish festivities in a church. That’s logical, isn’t it? Moreover, the plate thought that it would certainly meet other plates at the church. It would be great to find some new friends because you can tell each other stories and do things together. You always feel better with friends around.
It did not take long before all exhibits at the museum felt like having a bit of a change. The golden belt had tried it and it worked: the exhibits could easily open the doors of their showcases from the inside and leave the museum. The belt and other objects left the museum that particular evening.
It was a good thing that there were not many people in Dorotheergasse because it might have caused a bit of a stir if crowns, plates, cups, textiles, cutlery, candlesticks, paintings and all the other things you could possibly imagine being in a museum would have been seen walking around in the street all of a sudden. But the exhibits were very clever. They went in pairs or in groups of three or four, not too many and not too few. After all, it is not that safe in a city. The objects from the museum were curious of what was out there, beyond the museum walls, and they all began doing fun things. Buying a pizza and eating it on the way, taking a ride on the subway, taking a stroll, staring into the air, going shopping at C&A and Deichmann and, of course, watching a movie. It was exciting, but still not quite perfect.
The problem that the exhibits had was that they had spent such a long time among themselves that they had began to get bored with each other. Not much, but still a little bit. At least, to the extent that they would have liked to find new friends. But where does one look for them? Where would they find new friends?
Well, it is not such a difficult question after all: new friends can be found in other museums across the city and as there are plenty of these in Vienna — the exhibits from the Jewish Museum spent quite some time looking around. There were the Kunsthistorische Museum Vienna; the Museum of Natural History; the one that has a lot of technology; the one with the watches and clocks; Wien Museum; the Museum of Ethnology; the Sisi Museum; the Mozarthaus; the Chocolate Museum; the Museum of Modern Art; the Albertina and many, many other exciting places.
Meanwhile, there was nothing to see anymore at Dorotheergasse – the visitors had to stand in front of empty showcases, something that is not a good idea and not a good solution for a longer period of time. Therefore, the people at the museum put the following text on the museum’s webpage and into all newspapers: “Please help us to find the missing exhibits from the Jewish Museum. Finders will be rewarded!”
It took a few days before the objects from the Jewish Museum heard about this initiative. Oh dear, the museum had no visitors anymore, that was not good. So, the exhibits decided to go back. And maybe some of their new found friends would accompany them, so it would be more fun in the future? Those who would like to could stay a bit longer, like a holiday, a bit shorter or longer, entertaining and relaxing…
The objects from the Jewish Museum took only a very small number of friends with them, so that nobody really noticed that something had changed.
And this is the big secret in all museums, that all objects behind the glass had an exciting time in their previous lives when they had all been used and before they came to a museum. They still get excitement at the museum - they leave and come back - and those of you taking a very close look and keeping your ears open will be told all their stories. The only thing you need to bring is some imagination, but nothing more than that.
Museum Story: Narrated and Illustrated by the Children of the Elementary School in Herzmanovsky Orlando Gasse, 1210 Vienna on October 21st, 2010 at the Jewish Museum Vienna