Educational program ideas for a difficult topic: 500 Years of German Purity Law and the Art of Brewing
Abstract In this article, the technoseum in mannheim, a museum for science and the industrial revolution is introduced to outline its special way of handling the visitors through a set of different type of employees, who are working in the exhibition to engage the public by showing hands-on stations and explaining the technology behind them. it is aimed at showing some ideas about challenging topics for educational purpose. author will briefly introduce the conduction of surveys at first, which is for the purpose of gaining a better understandingof the customers, and shows difficulties with getting to know the "non-visitors", followed with a interpretation of a living example: an exhibition about beer.
Keywords educational activities, interactive stations, survey of the visitors
The TECHNOSEUM, opened in 1990 as a state museum of science, industry and the workplaces and workers living conditions, has a exhibition on the history of industrialization that covers 9 000 m2. It shows the advances in natural sciences and technology from the 18th century until today, but also the social and economic changes that followed the industrialization in Germany. For instance, one gets insights into how a steam engine works, but also learns about the consequences that the introduction of steam power had on people's life. Many of the historical machines are still in use, and specially trained technicians will demonstrate and explain work sequences and answer visitors' questions.
Visitors can try things out by themselves in the three interactive elemental exhibitions shaped in the style of a science center. In one aspect, it is very different from any science centers in the world: the subject matter of these interactive stations is connected to the narrative of the museum and there are real historical objects to underline this connection. Also, the museum has a number of on-site employees of different categories to help engage visitors and assist them in getting the most out of their experience.
1 Special employees for a personal approach
There are three levels of on-site employees in the exhibition space:
(1) Guards. They watch the originals and make
sure visitors find their way. They also guard the originals. Dressed in their blue and white uniform, they are easy to make out in case anyone needs to ask for help.
(2) Technoscouts. These guides are dressed in branded bright red polo shirts to make them easy to find. Positioned at certain busy points in the special exhibition, they are here to engage with the visitors, offer assistance in the use of the interactive stations and explain more complex connections and scientific questions. They have a good understanding of the exhibition and can also answer questions concerning the content. Ideally, they can communicate with the visitors in a non-invasive way and offer to show certain experiments that can only be used with their assistance, for example, the collaborative robot "Yumi" who can built a little model car together with the visitor. The Technoscouts are trained and get paid for preparation time to be able to get familiar with new topics. Learning materials and educational training is provided by the research staff and the educational team. They are usually recruited from a pool of university students of mathematics or other scientific fields.
(3) Staff for the demonstration of historical machines. These employees have special knowledge about the historical machines still in action in TECHNOSEUM, like the paper mill, where visitors can produce their own piece of paper, the 200-year-old steam-train that runs on its tracks inside and on a little tour outside of the museum every day or the printing press from the 1800s. These machines and procedures will be presented at a set schedule, so that visitors can follow these scheduled times on their tour through the museum. All senses are addressed that the motion draws the eye, the machine oil attracts the sense of smell, and the sense of hearing will be drawn to the unfamiliar and surprising sound of the watermills rushing water or the squeaking of the wooden paper mill, so there is always some wheel turning or some machine that makes noise to draw attention! By engaging the visitors in some of the action, whether it is riding the train or weaving the cloth, the sense of touch is also appealed to the visitors.
2 Survey of the visitors
The TECHNOSEUM has worked with a professional institute in producing their surveys. The contracted company has done every two years, with some questions that were asked to target certain topics, such as: did the visitors like the new aspect of the museum (e.g. the interactive stations)? how did they hear about the special exhibition? how would they rate the friendliness of the staff?
The report of these surveys is very detailed and about 150 pages long. The analysis of the survey takes a lot of time and expert study, but it can guide the staff in the right direction for change and is considered as very valuable feedback. It has also shown that it would be even better to do these surveys in-house, as to have a better and closer control of their direction and quality.
For example, one of the out-of-house surveys had a surprisingly high ratio of visitors who wanted to see the special exhibition aimed at children in the 2 to 4 age group. This result was due to the fact that the survey was carried out during a time when an exhibition for that age group was on display which strongly biased visitors' answer and leaded to the imprecise results.
We now have a special task force for feedback and surveys who has started their work in 2018. Eva Unterl覿nder and a team of assistants connected to the educational department have done a short questionnaire during the summer and have also installed a terminal in the foyer with a simple "like/ moderate/ dislike" formula that asks age group and type of visit (school, family, single, etc.).
3 500 Years of german purity law and the art of brewing
The Purity Law for Beerin Germannamed only three ingredients: water, barley and hop. For its 500-year-anniversary in 2016, the TECHNOSEUM took this date as an opportunity for a grand show about the whole manufacturing process of beer.
(1) The three ingredients is hop, barley, water (and a little yeast).
(2) The changing technologies behind the making of beer: from a little household stove to the massive production of today's multimillion liter industry.
(3) Famous inventions in the transportation of the beverage and strategies to sell it to its customers.
(4) When should the alcohol be prohibited during work hours or while driving, as a teenager or illness?
(5) And how drinking beer in moderation can on the other hand be a kind of "social glue" to bring people together. We concentrated on different beer drinking etiquette around the world.
3.2 Objective and challenge
In a Museum, it is not only dedicated to science and technology, but also to the workers' sphere, and to educate the visitors as well, asthese visitors are often the young, we wanted to show all aspects of a product. The technical aspect of beer production was accompanied by stories about the life of a brewing master, and facts of how beer works inside people’s body and brain.
One of the challenges that our team faced was to find a way to promote this exhibition to younger visitors. Together with our educational team we followed different approaches: We firstly checked the seminar plans of different age groups in schools and found ways to dock onto their existing curricula in chemistry, physics, biology and social sciences. Subsequently, we included different types of activities in 3.1 the exhibition. In the first section, Visitors could taste corns of barley, smell different types of hops, see and feel a real plant on our balcony (Figure1). 3.3 Layouts of the exhibition sections
In the second section, we had two tablets with touchscreens for a game of the virtual brewing of beer. Specifically, we found that younger visitors had an intuitive approach to the game and were able to understand it quite easily. We had chose a simple version so that the it was easy to accomplish the game, players would win a reward at the end of the game with a completed virtual beer and the sound of cheering.
A table had been set up for Technoscouts to explain how to measure alcohol and sugar content in different liquids and to answer the questions about all steps involved in producing beer.
The third section was about transportation, storage and marketing of beer. This station was built for exhibition creative product, visitors could create their own beer mats with stamps (Figure 2), which could be taken home as a souvenir.
The fourth section was about the side effects of alcohol. People could stand in front of a two sided mirror, showing male and female body in outline oneach side, with the organs (brain, heart, liver) annotated on the body and information about the effect of a glass of beer on each part of the body (Figure 3).
The idea was to make people look into the "mirror" and see themselves in the truest sense of the word, as to make them be aware of their own behavior. It was a good way to start a conversation with visitors and many people started talking about themselves.
In addition to the information shown on the walls (with texts and graphic design of statistical facts), one could listen to three audio stations about "the reasons why I will have a beer". Some unknown facts about beer were printed on round wooden boards that were hangingfrom the ceiling and could be turned over by hand (Figure 4). one side showed a picture (mostly something with a surprising or puzzling effect) and the other side of the wooden board held the explanation.
In the last twosections about "Beer in the World", we had set up a spot (Figure 5) where visitors could take their pictures behind the mock-up cut for families with children in Bavarian dress, in front of the pictures of Oktoberfest in some cities which are well known for beer: Munich, Brazil and Tsingtao!
We had a table with beer mats to take away with different facts about beer (Figure 6). Visitors could have a seat and listen to the description of different drinking etiquette from all over the world. The different drinking etiquette recorded in the audio station were interpreted by native speakers. For example, "ganbei", the Chinese way to say "cheers", is liberally translated as"dry the glass". This interactive station also illustrated the multilingual aspect of a culturally diverse town like Mannheim and how common the social activity of saying "cheers" among a group of friends.
The last spot for visitors engagement was a bar with the background of 1 516 beer bottles (Figure 7), where a special beer, made by a local brewery, was given out to our guests. This handing out of alcohol was put under great scrutiny by the educational department as well as several legal departments, including the office for food and drink, we compromised on a handful of free beer which was served after 2 pm, after school groups have already left the museum. 3.4 Educational activities and special events
The educational program included talks and discussions on different topics, such as "the cultural history of beer", "slow beer" and "slow food", tasting with a food expert, "dirndl" and "lederhose" are the fashion of the bavarian dress and the search for identity. On weekends, a brew master from a local brewery in Heidelberg held a class for adults in which they learned how to make beer and could take their very own brew home (Figure 8). This activity was held three times for customers who paid for it and would be held more frequent if possible, because of the high interest it generated.
Evening activities included beer and food, so there was a reading about the topic "Beer in Literature" and a talk about the tradition of the German purity law and a special event with beer poets competing with their best poems about the subject (Figure 9).
There were some activities such as reflection on the side effects of beer, which was less popular. The professor of Heidelberg University gave a speech on "Alcohol consumption, when can it turn into an addiction?" and personnel from a government program talked about "Prevention and help with addiction: What teenagers and their parents should know about beer".
Every weekend there were open guided tours,
English and French are available. On three special occasions, we had tours for the seeing or the hearing impaired disabilities. We had tried to get an interesting handle on this topic from all different angles and succeeded in including a lot of people that do not usually go to the museum "for fun", especially male visitors in the age group of 20 to 40. There was an after-work tour ended with a tasting of different types of craft beer, and one event specifically targeted singles, gave them chances to meet at the exhibition and have a drink in the evening.
For teachers, the educational department developed a special coaching seminar to get familiar with the topics of the exhibition and enable them to be prepared for guiding their students before visiting. Our guides offered special tours to be booked for different age groups (e.g. for classes with the students from 12 to 18 years old). The tour of the exhibition involved raw materials, production, packaging and marketing of beer as well as social aspects and risks of beer consumption. It was also suitable for schools with special needs. The tour "Inebriation and Addiction" suited 14 to 18-year-olds students who tried to find answers, we had designed some questions like: What happens inside the body when drinking alcohol? How does an intoxication affect you? And what happens in the brain? How much alcohol is still "normal"? In this exhibition tour, the topics like drinking, dependency and prevention were discussed with the students.
Workshops with 2 hours duration of focused on advertising material and practices of historical and current beer campaigns. In the practical part work on the campaigns, the students in small groups develop ideas for their own advertising. Another workshop about "Hops and Malt" let the students examine the sugar and starch content of barley and malt and learn how starch transforms into fermentable sugars during brewing. The addition of hops to the malt extract produces the typical beer aroma. In addition, the protein content was examined and the students performed density measurements to measure the sugar content in different beers. The workshop was completed after a short walk through the exhibition.
The topic of alcohol and its consumption is an important subject that everyone has to think about in their life. So it might not be a topic for children, but it was a topic that concerned all age groups throughout all social classes. Many visitors were glad of the possibilities to have discussions about this and find an unusual way to approach a somewhat taboo topic. We were very glad that the public enjoyed the technical explanations as well as the fun anecdotes about beer but also appreciated the effort the museum spent on facing a difficult topic like addiction to alcohol from all points of view. （2019-01-18 收稿，2019-02-26 修回）
Figure 1 Hop plants on the balcony
Figure 5 Selfie wall
Figure 3 Visitors in front of the "mirror"
Figure 4 Visitors reading the "medallions"
Figure 2 Elements designed for stamps
Figure 8 The brewing process in the museum
Figure 7 The bar at the end of the exhibition
Figure 6 The audiostation about "toast and cheers"
Figure 9 People sharing knowledge about beer