Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, what an amazing place! right in the middle of Cologne! Our last OUT meeting before the Easter break was in this fantastic museum , not far from Neumarkt. The building itself is very inviting, open and full of light so that visitors immediately feel comfortable in the foyer. And you get a feeling of what is to come by inspecting the authentic rice barn from Indonesia, which is huge but fits perfectly into this open space.
We COSMO ladies had the special treat of a wonderful English guided tour. Our guide was not only competent but very lively and full of antecdotes about the museum, its founders and some of the objects. For example, in order to assemble this rice barn , Indonesian experts had to be brought to Cologne. The culture shock was extreme, coming from the jungles of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.They got the job done, but were never the same again.
Our guide just gave us an overview of the museum, stressing that the various areas are theme-oriented, not, as it used to be in ethnological museums, geographically-oriented. There is no Africa room, Chinese or Asian sections. Instead, the museum is divided into two levels: Comprehending the World and Shaping the World. On each level there are various rooms filled with artifacts from the different cultures. These artifacts are not just displayed in glass cases, but are part of many interactive displays. There are drawers to open, display cases which light up , books to open. The tour ended in the rooms dealing with burial rituals in different cultures and religions.
At the end of our tour, we all said this is a museum to go back to, to explore on one’s own or to concentrate on specific areas.
Many, many thanks to our brilliant guide for opening up this whole new museum experience to us.