Organizing Things

19 May 2022 – 2 Jan 2023

File cards, binders, folders, shelfs, palettes – with the exhibition ORGANIZING THINGS variously used ordering aids will create a space for own reflection and a setting for a multidimensional discourse of specialists on the organizing of knowledge and day-to-day life.

In daily life we hope that systems and structures, organizational aids, forces of order, will help us stop the constant expansion of chaos, put things in order and keep them that way. Every aid dictates a certain order: boxes, drawers and cabinets, rules, indexes and coordinates, alphabetical or numerical labels and tabs. Taking a closer look at these organizing devices makes the omnipresence of the organizational tasks clear and can help us detect unconscious assumptions and blind spots, especially in museum work.

Order is a fundamental aspect of every museum: the order of things and the order of knowledge are mutually dependent. Theoretical structuring models often make us forget practical access that is required in museum arrangements that becomes visible in the collecting, the unpacking, examining and classifying, the inventorying and cataloguing of objects and documents. On the basis of comparative observation and differentiation, separation and collation the museum functions as a kind of “order machine”, programmed by its given charter and a specific scientific system depending on its object of study.

In the exhibition, the material elements of order are juxtaposed with an artistic installation by Sibylle Hofter and an artistic spatial sound installation by Moritz Fehr.

The project ORGANIZING THINGS is the prelude to further activities on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Werkbundarchiv in 1972/73.

The exhibition is extended until January 2, 2023.

Take part in our campaign: Your box of odds and ends steps out of the shadows …

Probably almost everyone has a box of odds and ends at home: a random collection of mostly small things of various shapes and functions. What they have in common: they might be needed again someday!
Now they are needed, that is, by us: your supposedly inconspicuous treasures step into the spotlight! Bring your box to the museum and it will become part of our exhibition.

You can leave your box of odds and ends with the museum or pick it up again after the exhibition ends.

Krims-Krams-Dose, Collection Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge
Photo: Armin Herrmann


Renate Flagmeier

Supported by