06 November 2023

Small town

It's a small town but with an interesting history and it places Weimar in an odd class. The small town museums I've visited are generally lesser things, smaller, less significant collections. It's not the case here, but I did feel underwhelmed with 2 museums yesterday. But then, perhaps it's to some degree a function of language: we don't speak German. The first was a major national institution, the Bauhaus Museum. The other was the Stadtmuseum Weimar, so more in the local category. Bauhaus was the design training institution that's renowned for its developments between the wars, seeking new responses in architecture, design, living. The history of the new man, the Nazi interferences, the changing leadership and location was outlined and we saw designs for housing and examples of furnishings. I wondered about the influences of Frank Lloyd Wright and others. FLW considerably preceded the Bauhaus. I was somewhat non-plussed by waste of space and confusion about moving through the exhibition spaces. Despite promoting modest family housing, the building was replete with half-hidden staircases, tall rooms, form over function and the like. Nice, arty and impressive, but I thought inconsistent. I liked that we could test some of the iconic chair designs. They are significant and some still are available. My father, an uncle and a friend each have/had Bauhaus-styled chairs. I particularly liked the project rooms that were given over to an informed presentation with national and international political implications on homelessness. It was a worthy and informed deliberation and obviously well received by the visitors. Then on to the Stadtmuseum of Weimar. This is a local museum, free access for tourists, in a worthy old building, with lots of visuals, a lesser collection and all captions in German so hard for us to judge. We saw of the democracy movement, the Nazis, life and times, the National Theatre, quite a few costumes which are always interesting, a few swords and pipes and the like. Amusingly, the temporary exhibition was of bookmarks over the centuries. Who would'a thunk it!

The Bauhaus Museum and Stadtmuseum Weimar are in Weimar.

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