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The Humboldt Forum: an opening of cultural inclusion

Inaugurated in July 2021, the Humboldt Forum is one of Germany’s most important cultural projects.

Built on Berlin’s prestigious Museum Island – a UNESCO world heritage site – this monumental four-hectare center dedicated to art, culture and science, hosts vast collections of non-European art.

Tactile Studio was chosen to design the inclusive trail for the temporary exhibition “Terrible Beauty: Elephant – Human – Ivory”, which recounts the history of the ivory trade and illustrates millennia of human fascination for this much coveted material.

Multisensory discovery of the exhibition trail

A tactile and auditory map located at the gallery entrance allows all visitors to immerse themselves in the space and understand the narrative trail that is set out.

This sensitive signage presents the key sections of the exhibition as well as the different content that is accessible to everyone. It comprises a tactile map, pictograms and captions showing clearly the specific details of each space.

A visitor discovers the whole exhibition thanks to a tactile orientation map - © Tactile Studio
A visitor discovers the whole exhibition thanks to a tactile orientation map - © Tactile Studio
Visitors have access to an audio content that can be activated by a QR code at the station - © Tactile Studio
Visitors have access to an audio content that can be activated by a QR code at the station - © Tactile Studio

The audio content, activated by a QR code at the station, helps visitors to explore the narrative trail and shows the key themes of the exhibition.

Fun, interactive and inclusive stations

These unique devices offer visitors a journey back in time, and put into dialogue the interconnection between elephant, humans and ivory.

The first two stations are interactive. The first allows visitors to put together their own cabinet of curiosities – the direct ancestor of the museums of today. Everyone is invited to choose 12 rare or unusual objects of the period and to place them into the following categories: art – nature – fetish object – science.

This station allows visitors to build their own cabinet of curiosities - © Tactile Studio
This station allows visitors to build their own cabinet of curiosities - © Tactile Studio
Thanks to an innovative electronic system, visitors can feel the vibrations that the elephants transmit to the ground - © Tactile Studio
Thanks to an innovative electronic system, visitors can feel the vibrations that the elephants transmit to the ground - © Tactile Studio

The second is dedicated to how elephants communicate: thanks to a unique electronic system, visitors can feel the vibrations that these mammals transmit to the ground to warn of danger, search for food or find a mate.

The third and fourth devices are tactile. One is entitled “Loango Ivories” and presents the three main themes in the defence of a sculpted elephant, dating from the second half of the nineteenth century. A bas-relief of the object allows exploration of the general composition of the work, as well as the location of the chosen scenes.

This station is composed of a bas-relief of a sculpted elephant tusk and presents its 3 main themes - © Tactile Studio
This station is composed of a bas-relief of a sculpted elephant tusk and presents its 3 main themes - © Tactile Studio
Visitors also have the opportunity to discover the physical differences of the 3 main elephant species in the world - © Tactile Studio
Visitors also have the opportunity to discover the physical differences of the 3 main elephant species in the world - © Tactile Studio

The last station enables visitors to discover by fingertip the physical differences between the three species of elephant in the world. It comprises three-dimensional models of the male elephants and three relief drawings of the females, viewed face-on.

An exhibition to explore until 28 November 2021!

Client: Stiftung Humboldt Forum

Humboldt Forum Logo

Scenography: Holzer Kobler

Partner: WAM – We Are Makers